From my daily work I know that young people with Autism often have few friends and are not part of a group of friends. However, we now know how important these friends and group of friends are for the development of the young person. This development is therefore also important for the young person with Autism. They therefore also look for a group in which they can develop, as is known as a development task.
It is common for young people with Autism to play games, especially online. During online gaming, they are often part of a group, also known as a clan. From my own experience I know that this group is very important for the young person. There is just as much peer pressure as from a peer group from the street. It often happens that I have an appointment with a youngster and that he or she then receives an app from the clan. “Whether he wants to come online”. This pressure weighs heavily and the group pulls on the young person, as it were. In my view, nothing more than a peer group hanging out on the street and texting or calling a young person to see if he's still coming.
A clan has even more important similarities. Standards and values apply and certain behaviors are encouraged. (e.g. by gaming at night). Furthermore, the youngster identifies with this clan. He is a member of the clan, which often has a name that they use online and in the real world. In the clan there are also group roles. For example, there are clear leaders who determine whether someone may or may not remain in a clan. In case of serious violation of the group rules, someone can be kicked, they will be removed from the group. This is no different than in a peer group from the street.
If we want young people with autism to play games less, we should certainly not underestimate the role of the clan (peer group). These are often friends with whom the gamer has a lot of intensive contact and for the youngster in a socially safe and clear way. There is less demand for social skills online. Young people with autism also regularly indicate that only this group of friends really understands them.
[DDG]… good times