Since the inception of video games, parents have been concerned about how playing games all day could be potentially dangerous for their children. There are many potential upsides of gaming for children. Games are a normal part of the childhood experience, and video games can be a powerful tool for helping them develop essential skills.
Of course, there’s also a point when a child is gaming too much. For example, gaming could negatively affect mental health if your child experiences anxiety during a blackout because they can’t play games.
Ultimately, a healthy balance between gaming and experiencing regular life and the outdoors must be healthy. However, gaming isn’t as dangerous as many think, mainly if games can benefit a child’s life. Here are a few of the ways gaming is suitable for kids:
Can teach problem-solving skills
Video games, like indoor sports and regular board games, can support healthy brain development in children. When children play games, they have to search, plan, and learn different approaches to beat levels in a game.
Many games involve problem-solving, whether your child is gaming with a mouse or a controller. In addition, character customization can also allow for creative self-expression while helping children learn how to perform specific tasks to get to the next level.
Of course, some video games are more educational than others, but they all have a certain level of strategy a child must use to win, which can promote better problem-solving skills in the future.
Build interest in particular topics
Introducing your child to different cultures, periods, and types of worlds can positively affect their ability and desire to learn. For example, some games are set in medieval times while others are set in space, both of which can spark interest and intrigue in young minds. For example, if your child enjoys a space game, they may develop a genuine interest in space and science, which can ultimately affect what courses they excel in.
Video games can help parents expose children to different things without taking them somewhere. For example, if your child is interested in space exploration, you can’t take them to space. Still, they can play video games to learn more, even if the information shared isn’t necessarily accurate.
Video games are something people bond over, online and offline. So whether your child is playing video games online or inviting friends from school over to play, they can serve as a bridge to help shy children make more friends. Gaming is a social activity and can give kids something to do together.
Can promote activity
When you think about video games, imagine a child sitting on the floor in front of their television or at a computer for hours. However, video games can encourage physical activity. For example, some of the most popular video games are sports games like basketball, baseball, and even skateboarding. These games can inspire children to get out and play, even teaching them new skills through the games they can take onto the courts.
Of course, there are also video games that require activity through VR and other tools to keep kids active and entertained while they play.
Kids prefer playing video games in groups, whether in person or online, and they can take turns leading the group and telling others how to play a game if they have a specific skill set that can help the group. In addition, explaining how to beat levels or perform new skills can help children develop critical leadership and communication skills.
Enhances parent-child bond
Gaming can bring parents and kids together, giving them common ground and something they can do together they both enjoy. While children are typically better at video games than their parents, there’s a unique bonding experience to be enjoyed when they teach their parents how to play their favorite video game. This can be incredibly beneficial for parents who don’t understand their child’s interests.
Improved reading comprehension
Believe it or not, gaming involves more reading than you’d expect. Gaming typically has tips throughout the game to help new players learn how to play it. In addition, there’s a dialogue between characters and instructions to follow. As a result, video games can improve reading comprehension in children, especially if they’re playing educational games that improve reading skills. Of course, video games should not replace books, but they can give children another medium for improving their reading skills.
Visual-spatial skill improvement
Visual-spatial skills refer to someone’s ability to navigate in a physical setting. However, you can improve your skills digitally, and many children do with video games. Many video games don’t have any GPS; instead, children may be able to access a map, or they have to build out a map by discovering new areas of the game. Kids who play video games where they have to navigate around a new world can help them develop these skills.
Video games allow children to be creative. However, not all allow players to build their characters and worlds. However, games like Minecraft allow players to build about anything they can think of to create their world. Open-world games have no linear structure, so players can do virtually anything imaginable without following a set path. This allows them to create rules and play the game however they want, sparking creativity outside of art class.
Potential for career
While some kids enjoy video games, others have a passion for them. If your child is passionate about video games, don’t consider their hobby unhealthy. Instead, it could be a great way to earn money as they age. There are thousands of careers surrounding gaming, including gaming reporters and professional players, and winners of tournaments can win millions of dollars.
While the odds of becoming a successful professional gamer are just about as small as they are for becoming a professional athlete, any child could have what it takes. Others may choose to become developers, so there’s no reason to prevent your child from enjoying video games unless it interferes with other aspects of their life.
We’re not denying there are potential downfalls to letting children play video games. However, video games are part of a normal childhood, and they can be beneficial in helping children develop the skills they need to be successful adults.