Kids spend so much time in front of a screen these days, whether it is the TV, a laptop or their iPhone. We worry that they are spending too much time in front of a screen because of the ill effects it can cause, but did you know that video games can be useful for kids?
Maybe it is time we spend a little less time on all the negative effects of video games and start realizing that electronic video games are part of children’s worlds these day.
If you pick the right video games, you can help your child develop various life skills. They can also help teachers supplement their classroom teaching, and help parents choose leisure time activities that are appropriate for their child.
A study done at Harvard Medical School in which they interviewed over 1,000 public school students found the following to be reasons why video games may be beneficial to your child’s growth and education.
Helps them make friends
Contrary to what many parents think, video games are not isolating. Rather video games are seen as a social activity by kids.
It gives them a basis for getting together and playing the games as well as something to talk about when they are not playing.
If you have ever looked on Twitter or Facebook where the kids are always posting you will see endless tweets and posts about the latest games and what level someone made.
In the study done by Harvard kids with mild disabilities were asked why they played video games and they reported that it was to make friends.
Also, when boys were asked at one school what they talked about at school they responded that the most talked about subjects at school were girls and video games.
In the research study done by Harvard they found that kids who played sports video games, especially boys, told researchers they would watch the sports videos to see all the new moves and then practiced them.
The research also showed that kids who were not involved in sports previously were more likely to get involved after they play the specific videos.
Provides the opportunity to teach
One third of the kids interviewed in the Harvard study said that they liked to play video games so that they could teach others how to play.
One father reported that when he observed his son playing video games with others it mostly involved them trying to solve or conquer something within the game. Some kids even accrue status among friends when they become known as the “go to” person for a particular game.
They are the person with all the answers. A kid who learns how to teach something to others does not only learn that subject better, but their social skills increase as well as their patience and ability to communicate.
Joy of competition
Being competitive is common for kids. In this study the number one reason kids stated they liked to play video games was to compete with their friends and beat them.
This is a great and appropriate environment for kids to compete. It is also great for kids who don’t excel at sports because it gives them a chance to excel at this and gives them a sense of accomplishment.
Teaches problem solving skills and creativity
Many parents don’t realize it but some video games actually can help your child’s brain grow. For example, take a game like Legend of Zelda.
In this game, in order to advance you need to plan, negotiate and go through several steps of trial and error. More recent games such as Defenders of the Core and Bakugan also involve problem solving and planning as well as something called “Modding.”
This is when a player gets a chance to customize one of the characters of the game. The child’s creativity comes into play as they develop the appearance of the character as well as new game levels. In order for a child to do this, they must have an in-depth understanding of the rules and structure of the game.
What one can take away from this is that just because a game is not labeled educational doesn’t mean it isn’t. In games such as these the child is learning how to use various strategies, make decisions and then anticipate consequences.
Brings parents and kids together
There are a lot of video games out there that parents can play, too. What helps parents get more involved with their kids and video games is that more and more video games are becoming friendlier to the novice.
Usually, the child learns how to play a game and then will show the parent how to do it. This is a reversal of the usual parent-child role where the parent is the teacher.
When parents and kids sit down together it allows the two of them to have fun and to talk about things that they would not normally talk about.
This easy conversation often leads to your child sharing things that they normally wouldn’t. You will find that your child will start sharing their concerns and triumphs with you.