Violent video games have been shown to increase aggression in children, and excessive screen time is definitely not recommended for anyone. But did you know that when played in moderation, the right video games can actually help kids develop and strengthen certain skills?
1. Video Games Increase Brain Function
By forcing kids to memorize different characters, game rules and other aspects they need to move to the next level of a game, video games prep young minds for the memorization of phonics, multiplication tables and other such educational information.
Kids who play video games often do well at math, for example, because they are already well-practiced at memorizing formulas and numbers in games.
2. Video Games Help with Dexterity
Have you ever tried to play against a youngster at a video game and been amazed by their speed and hand agility? Those of us who grew up without video games lack the hand-eye coordination it takes to excel at the rapid succession of buttons that must be pushed during game play, but not our kids.
These skills will also carry over into the world of sports, art, music, keyboarding, or anything they try that involves fast, precise hand movement.
3. Video Games Improve Vision
As long as they’re not staring at screens all day long, which can tire eyes and cause headaches, moderate video gaming can improve vision by exercising the eyes and training them to follow movement. This can strengthen peripheral vision and increase reflexive quickness.
4. Video Games Encourage Logical Thinking
With many games, kids have to figure out ways to accomplish a goal or achieve a desired outcome and test their proposed solutions, much like using the scientific method.
For example, in the popular game Scribblenauts, kids must solve spatially-oriented situations for the main character using anything they can type into the scene (which also builds typing, spelling and vocabulary skills). When kids are forced to think this way, it teaches them to use and test logic.
5. Video Games Allow Kids to Solve Problems
In addition to boosting their strategic thinking skills by forcing kids to anticipate future moves (much like playing chess), certain video games teach children the valuable skill of problem or puzzle solving.
By giving them a series of challenges to conquer, video games force children to learn how to think for themselves to find answers, boosting self-esteem and teaching them how to calmly react in high-pressure situations.
6. Video Games Facilitate Social Skills
In the same way that playing board games with other children can teach kids about good sportsmanship and being a part of a team, group or online video games can create the same social outlet for kids.
Having a favorite game in common can also help kids bond by giving them an easy conversational opening. In the same way that wearing something featuring a favorite sports team logo can open communication, a T-shirt bearing the image of a game character can have the same effect.
7. Video Games Can Be Educational
Many games actually teach historical facts, architecture, spelling, typing, and math. Some video games allow kids to use their imaginations as they build cities and imaginary worlds. Even games not designed specifically to be educational are still encouraging children to think creatively, which will help them in many ways.
Of course it’s still important for kids to get outside to exercise and play in the fresh air, but we need to remember that our children are growing up in a much more computer-oriented world than the one in which we grew up.
Learning computer skills needs to be a priority for children today to thrive as adults. As long as video gaming is done with supervision, in moderation and with the appropriate games for learning, it can be a great way to acclimate kids with the technology of their future while teaching them useful and healthy life skills.
Noelle Eberts has a passion for connecting children to the possibilities that math can unlock. She writes independently for www.MathNook.com and is a great resource for all kinds of kid’s math games. Noelle is a part-time math tutor and a full-time Mom!