Parents who may have played video games a bit when they were younger but have now stopped, when they see their sons and daughters sitting in front of a TV and playing games, they often think that the kids are essentially watching TV. That it’s just a waste of time.
But really, video games are so much more in children’s lives. They play with each other in games; in fact, kids more often play socially than alone. But beyond that, even when the games are off, they serve as a common language. When kids are out in the schoolyards talking about building levels in Minecraft, it’s similar to watching a baseball game and then talking to your friends about your favorite players and so forth.
Elsewhere, we see articles pointing out that the plethora of entertainment options means that people have fewer common cultural touchstones outside of megahits like Game of Thrones (blech). It hadn't occurred to me before to consider how the relatively small number of games that involve live play with others, and the fact that there are a number of broadly-known popular games in that category, replace the "things everyone can talk about around the water cooler" function that TV shows did as common touchstones.