9 ways video games can benefit your child

By guest contributor Lilly Herbert

For most parents out there, the mention of video games conjures the image of their children getting transformed into a zombie or their brains turning to mush. The constant staring of screens for the better part of the day doesn't augur well with most parents. However, technology has proved to be of immense benefit since its incorporation into educational videos and video games.

Here’s a list of potential benefits of video games can have for your child.

1. Improved problem-solving skills

Video games come across as an excellent way ofenhancing your child's problem-solving skills. Skills such as negotiating, customising player qualities, and different game levels equip children with the needed skills for progression to higher levels. Such qualities become necessary in later life.

2. It can spark cultural and historical interests

There’s a myriad of games out there. Parents can use this to their advantage by purchasing games with historical context, such as the Age of Empires that allows children to delve into history. To reap the full benefits, it’s important to spot such interests and tie into other products like books, maps and geography.

3. Improved sociability

Video games create a social platform where kids can come together and engage. Many parents are of the notion that video games go well with introverts who dislike being social and require a platform where they get lost in their world.

Technology created ingenious ways of encouraging sociability through online multiplayer sessions. It enhances online connectivity, so children don't always have to meet up physically. However, online connectivity can also lead to physical meetings if children decide to meet through games.

4. Uptake of social values and norms

Competitive games foster positive attributes, such as teaching children the values and acceptance of winning and losing. Such qualities are invaluable later in life as it imparts tolerance and a competitive spirit.

5. Creativity

Certain games spark creativity in children by providing leeway in alternative problem-solving modes. Despite modern games having instructions, children typically engage in games by progressing through stages through trial and error.

6. Leadership and teaching

Most modern games come with multiplayer options, advancing leadership skills among children exhibiting specific expertise in different stages of the games. As most parents can attest, interaction among children commonly gets characterised by children talking about how to pass specific steps or how to conquer obstacles. Most games with educational videos stimulate teaching skills, as some of the children are referred to as the go-to for how to maneuver certain aspects of the game.

7. Reading

Studies have shown that video games promote reading ability in kids who otherwise don't have a knack in anything in text format. Their reading interest is sparked by instructions, which may be a determining factor in whether they pass a particular stage or not. Since they are hell-bent on progression, they have no option but to go through instructions. Further, they may rush to read updates on internet forums and websites to get the latest scoop on their favourite games.

The same concept applies to educational videos. Engagement is very high when it comes to learning by watching. A study was performed in the US by WestED where 439 Year 4 students at 12 different primary schools watched science videos of Generation Genius (a science teaching resource that brings school science standards to life through fun and educational videos paired with lesson plans, quizzes and more).

Here are some of their findings:

Here are some of the things said by students:

  • My favourite part of the video was basically everything!
  • They taught us something important, but they made it a lot of fun.
  • My favourite thing was they made hard words easy to say.
  • I loved everything, very entertaining, helped me learn a lot of things!

8. Sparks imagination

Video games offer fertile ground for imagination. It isn't unusual to find children mimicking animals from certain games containing educational videos during child play. It attests to their creativity beyond the confines of their living room.

9. Improved coordination

Video games aren't only about endlessly staring at the screen. It involves a lot of brain stimulation, hand–eye coordination and listening abilities. Such functions are essential to the growth of kids, particularly during their developmental stages.

Conclusion

Modern society is constantly changing, so it only serves to show that negative notions previously held with regards to video games should make way for a more liberal outlook. Video games may have more perceived benefits than disadvantages.

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