You’ve probably heard all of the reasons why playing video games isn’t good for kids, but did you know that research shows that video games may also have many benefits ranging from improving memory to honing social skills?
Gaming has come a long way from PacMan and Tetris – and a number of recent studies have indicated that video games (even violent ones) can help kids develop essential emotional and intellectual skills. Experts say that parent-approved video games that are played in moderation can help young kids develop in educational, social and physical ways (think those insanely complex Wii dancing games) and new research has begun to look at the positive impact of games both in a general way and for learning in particular.
From complex and challenging to motivating and ambitious games, check out 7 ways experts say you can use video games to your child’s advantage.
It’s normal and healthy for kids (especially boys) to be competitive with their peers for status and recognition. Video games can be especially beneficial to kids that may not very athletic, as they can still feel successful as they win against their competitors in a game. Also, many games have achievements that kids can earn, allowing them to challenge themselves to constantly improve.
Research shows that certain types of video games can help children who to improve memory and functioning skills. Strategic or building games that require players to make a plan and follow it through (think Minecraft) force kids to remember the results of each action and make decisions based on them.
Less Likely To Bully
Some experts believe that action games may reduce a child’s inclination to bully or tease others. Research suggests that because kids have the chance to play both villainous and hero roles, they are more likely to feel remorse.
Simple video games that don’t require a lot of thought, such as Angry Birds or Candy Crush Saga, can help kids relax and may improve mood and reduce anxiety. Experts believe that the easier the game, equals less stress and more satisfaction for kids.
Can Build Focus
While some people think that playing video games decreases kids’ attention span, researchers say the exact opposite may be true! Brain scans show that kids who regularly play are better able to filter out distractions than non-gamers are.
Perhaps more than ever before, video games have become an intensely social activity and many video games now pit multiple players against one another in real time. Allowing children to communicate directly with other players can build self esteem for kids who have trouble making connections elsewhere.
Creativity And Problem-Solving Skills
Video games are a perfect opportunity for children to practice flexible thinking and creative problem solving. Almost all of the most popular video games for kids and teens involve some degree of critical thinking, adaptability and the capacity to learn from their mistakes.
While there are many benefits to video games, it’s still a good idea to put limits on the type of games your child plays as well as the amount of time that they’re spending gaming.