Video games receive a lot of criticism for teaching children inappropriate behaviors and distracting them from schoolwork. However, not all games are created equal. Just as many games promote senseless violence, there are amazing games that are educational and encourage positive learning experiences. As a parent, you may question how they can help your child. This article will discuss ten ways of how video games can benefit children.
New reading buddy
All games involve some form of text game instruction. In order to become better at a game or continue the progress, children are encouraged to read. It also motivates them to research online and read up more information about beating the game. Recent research by Sandro Franceschini (Scientific Report, 2017) shows that action video games greatly help develop reading skills of dyslexic children.
Navigate to better visual-spatial skills
Psychology research studies indicate that action video games enhance the development of visual and visual-spatial processing (Green, Psychological Science, 2019). You may wonder how? Adventure games teach a valuable skill that many adults no longer value — map reading. By learning how to navigate through the game surrounding by using maps and visual cues, children gradually become better at visual-spatial skills.
Problem-solving is key
Every game is a giant puzzle. Isabela Granic from the University of the Netherlands (American Psychologist, 2013) conducted a long-term correlation study and found that teenagers who play strategic games tend to exhibit better problem-solving skills and higher grades. The brain is like any muscle. The more you exercise the muscles, the stronger they become. Through playing, little gamers are spending the time flexing their minds.
Even though 3D video gaming is still relatively new, the University of California neurobiologists (AANS Neurosurgeon, 2019) discover that it actively stimulates the hippocampus (brain area responsible for learning and memory formation). In their research, 3D gamers exhibit better memory retention than both non-gamers and 2D players.
Steps to become multitasker
All games keep players interested by constantly throwing simultaneous tasks at the character. Daphne Bavelier, University of Rochester professor in brain and cognitive sciences, suggests that gaming hones focus and information processing skills. Over time, gamers become better at juggling tasks with intense focus.
Interesting Fact: This benefit is not just for kids. UCSF studies (UCSF, 2013) found that it is equally beneficial for adults and seniors. Time to get everyone in the family into playing.
Similar interests bridge bonds among children. For those who suffer from social anxiety, chatting during video gameplay can ease the tension. Studies have shown that children who play video games tend to exhibit better peer relationships than non-gamers (Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 2016).
Social skills 101
Multiplayer games are excellent opportunities for children to learn various social skills such as collaboration, compromise, and sharing to achieve a common goal. It also helps children ease into leadership roles in strategic planning.
Interesting Fact: Psychologists suggest that video gaming can be a tool for parents to observe underlying social skills or behavioral problems in their children. Upon addressing the issues, early intervention can significantly lower future learning and development struggles (Dr. Daniel Pena, 2018).
Early start on emotional intelligence
No one can always beat a game in one try. It often involves many failures, changes in tactics, and retrials. Through this repetitive cycle, kids learn better control of their emotional intelligence and become more resilient towards failures and uncertainties.
What is even more intriguing is that role-playing games can teach children valuable lessons about empathy and interpreting a problem from another perspective (Bachen, Computers in Human Behavior, 2012).
Creativity and beyond
If you take a look at the role-play dress up frenzy at comic cons, you can get an idea of how video games can inspire unlimited possibilities in imaginative play and creativity. It can also allow boys and girls to get out of gender stereotype thinking.
Sparks interests in careers
Video games can be a wonderful inspiration for kids to learn more about careers such as cooking, architecture, engineering, and life science. For those who become intrigued by the process of creating a video game, they may explore possible careers in computer coding, animation, and computer arts. Some may even consider pursuing professional video gaming sport or becoming a journalist specializing in the sport.
To reap in the great benefits of video gaming, parents must play an active role in monitoring game selection and setting appropriate game time. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children between 18 months to five years of age should only be allowed one hour of game time a day. Even though there are no restrictions for children over five, a reasonable time limit should be applied accordingly.