Kids love video games! And with good reason. Video games are fun, engaging and exciting for all ages. And these days, there are as many types of video games as there are books or movies. Just like when televisions started appearing in our homes back in the 1950's, video games came under a ton of scrutiny from parents and organizations as they became popular in the 1980's and 1990's. A lot of people believed that video games had no value for our kids. But is this true?
Well as it turns out, no one medium is good or bad. It's all about how you interact with that medium and what you're interacting with. The Children's Television Workshop and others showed the world just how beneficial quality programming can be for young minds with classic shows like Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and Sesame Street. Can the same be done for video games?
Choosing the Right Video Games
When you are choosing games for your kids, you need to know what skills video games can help strengthen. Let's take a look at some benefits kids get from playing video games.
Many games for kids encourage a child's imagination and creativity. Games that encouraging building, drawing, making music and decorating all boost creativity in children. Studies show that interacting with games like these give children room to think and imagine. They experience control over the game space to make it however they want. This is experience they can take out of the game and put into the real world!
When you play a game, you're usually the hero! That means building a team, working with others, and overcoming obstacles to lead your group to victory. Games that give children control and encourage them to work together are like controlled tests of their leadership skills. Knowing how to work as a group, to take charge if necessary, and how to accomplish goals are great life skills for kids learning how to work with others in the classroom.
- Problem Solving
There is only one way to read a book or watch a movie. But video games are narratives created by the player. Much like puzzles or riddles, your child has all the information they need but it's up to them to put it all together. Finding games which encourage exploration, interaction and puzzle solving all contribute to strengthening problem solving skills. Having a safe space to explore, become frustrated, regroup and try again teaches kids to persevere when things in the real world get tough.
Making a Connection Through Gaming
Like any fun activity, video games can be used to bring people together. There are so many great family games that kids, parents, and even grandparents can play together. Video game spaces can also provide safe ways for kids to bond while being socially distanced. Maybe of us who are parents today found community and connection through playing online games with friends as teens. The same is true for the next generation, though their games have social components for kids of all ages.
By using this overview, we hope that you can make some informed decisions and consider using video games to help your kids improve their life skills, perform better in the real world, and feel smarter and more prepared for the challenges ahead. But don't forget to have fun!