Not all video games Are Bad
Video games are often associated with negative connotations and are frequently not considered the positive tool they can be. Because of this focus, the benefits of gaming are often overlooked. With proper supervision, choice of games, and utilization, video games can be useful tools for children. In this post, we will go over how video games can positively impact your child in four major areas.
Encouraging a child to read can be a difficult thing to do at times. Using an electronic apparatus such as video games can help bridge the gap in a child’s interest in reading. Many games have a complete backstory and story-line that a child has to read in order to follow along. A video game can appear more interesting to children who have trouble settling in with a traditional book. Some video games can be considered interactive books and increase the feeling of building one’s own story. Games also introduce some vocabulary words that may not always be found in traditional books. This includes “play”, “start”, “settings” and “continue” (Pasqualotto et al., 2022).
Game time for children has gone up since systems have become more obtainable to the average household and more portable for use. Because of this, a lot of negative implications have risen regarding the amount of time children spend in front of screens (Lorenz et. al., 2015). Utilizing the time that children use to play video games and allowing them as rewards and enrichment instead of straight entertainment can impact your child to motivate them to do the other essential things in life such as chores, self-care, or homework. These games can also open a child up to more activities and hobbies that they see in these games. That is why it is important to note which games a child is playing and make sure it is appropriate for their age and maturity level.
Video games can also be used as a form of relaxation and decompression for children (e.g., Osmos). Just like adults, children get stressed, overwhelmed, and overstimulated and need an outlet to reduce such feelings. This is where certain video games can come in and help. This isn’t where shooter games or active games come in but rather more single-player discovery games can benefit a child. When using video games as a relaxation option, it is important to make sure that there are time limits to it as well so that relaxation time is not taken advantage of and to motivate them to do other activities.
Hand-eye coordination has been shown to improve with the use of video games (Li et. al., 2016). Depending on the console in which a game is played, it can also increase motor control. Certain devices such as an Ipad or tablet which rely on a touch screen may not help as much as a traditional controller. With a traditional controller there are often buttons that need to be pushed, and movements on knobs that require eye and fine coordination to do so while looking at a screen. It increases muscle memory since the child will need to focus on the game while being able to move the controls in sync with the actions that one may wish to complete.
In short, video games can be detrimental to a child if used incorrectly. But with a properly chosen game for a specific child and overall supervision from a parent, they can be beneficial, motivational and enjoyable to children.
Li, L., Chen, R., & Chen, J. (2016). Playing Action Video Games Improves Visuomotor Control. Psychological Science, 27(8), 1092–1108. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797616650300
Lorenz, R. C., Gleich T., Gallinat J., Kühn S. (2015). Video game training and the reward system. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00040
Pasqualotto A., Altarelli I., De Angeli A., Menestrina Z., Bavelier D., Venuti P. (2022). Enhancing reading skills through a video game mixing action mechanics and cognitive training. Natural Human Behavior, 6(4):545-554. doi: 10.1038/s41562-021-01254-x.