For many years, educators and experts have labeled video games as nuisances. They were viewed as disruptive activities at best and corrupting influences at worst. However, the popularity and how prevalent video game playing has become necessitates a shift in attitude among teachers.
According to one study, as many as 97 percent of all children play video games for at least an hour each day and many young adults enjoy these activities as well.
Video game playing actually has benefits to the mental and educational development of your child. Learn a few of the advantages that playing video games responsibly can confer to your kids.
Learning Benefits of Video Games
A global survey discovered that dedicated gamers play as much as 8 and a half hours of video games every week. This number could of course be lower among younger children or kids who have a lot of supervision.
Given how much time children can spend playing video games, it’s no wonder that they may gain behavioral and educational benefits from the activity.
Here are some of the more compelling benefits of video game playing that your kid could harness if they enjoy this activity responsibly.
Encourages Flexible Thinking
Video games are rarely linear in their approach, with many games encouraging high levels of flexible thinking to overcome challenges and opponents.
Flexible thinking refers to the mental capacity of your child to think around hardships and discover solutions that may not be immediately obvious. For example, a video game may help kids realize that the best solution to any problem might take some time to develop or how they can use their environment and wit to their advantage.
Improves Spatial Intelligence
Video games also help develop other facets of your children’s intelligence. They are particularly effective in improving their spatial intelligence. This refers to your child’s ability to conceptualize objects and events inside their head, such as imagining folding a series of colored sheets into a single shape or analyzing how scattered pieces of a puzzle can fit into a single cohesive whole.
This ability can help kids with assembling furniture and envisioning solutions quickly in their own minds.
Correlated to both flexible thinking and spatial intelligence, video games can promote your kid’s creativity. This is different from the analytical and logical areas previously discussed. Video games can make your kid imagine different scenarios, think of what is possible and formulate their own versions of reality.
Enhanced creativity is a gift that can help them write imaginative stories, think up new solutions and enhance their own view of the world beyond an educational setting.
Many video games delve into topics and settings that could inspire your kids to look into them and enhance their understanding.
For example, video games set in medieval fantasy worlds or historical settings can make your kids curious about them. They may become interested in learning more about the medieval ages, curious about the workings of space travel and any other topic they encounter while playing their games.
How to Supervise Children’s Video Game Experience
Of course, despite all the benefits of video games to your child’s educational progress, they can also be daunting challenges you have to overcome. Supervisions and responsibility, both on your part and your kids, are needed if you want them to stay focused on their studies and avoid becoming addicted to playing video games.
Below are some methods on how you can effectively supervise their video game experience.
Do Your Research
Video games can range from the innocuous to the extremely violent or disturbing. Thankfully, there are plenty of video game rating systems that allow parents to decide whether a game is appropriate for the age and maturity of their children.
Make an effort to research what kind of games your kids are playing. What are other people saying about its contents? Are they too scary for younger kids? Do they contain mature themes? Your research can help steer away your kids from games that they aren’t old enough to handle.
Always monitor how much time your kids spend playing video games. Younger children can probably have enough fun playing approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour of video games every day. Older children and teens could be trusted to play for a little longer.
Make sure that they see playing video games as a treat and not as a need, so they don’t become obsessed over any single game.
Play with Them
If you want to see whether a game is a good or bad investment for your kids, you should play it yourself. Better yet, you should play alongside them. Not only will this allow you to gage the appropriateness of a given game, but it can also make you closer to your kids as you enjoy playing these games together.
Video games have changed a lot over the past few decades and so has their public reception. Today, parents and educators need to reevaluate and integrate video games to their curriculums instead of shunning them.