Video/online games, especially the violent shooter games, have always had a bad rep about causing aggression, addiction and restlessness in children and adolescents. While there is no doubt that uncontrolled gaming can causes all kinds of behavioural problems, video games are also a good way for both kids and adults to let their hair down and relax. It’s also great when you HAVE to get some work done and need the kids out of your hair for a while!
Interestingly, research done on the positive effects of video gaming by the American Psychological Association(APA), concludes that gaming can actually improve children’s learning and social skills.
We may wonder if playing video games makes a person intellectually lazy and glued to the game until all the levels are crossed and won over, but such play may actually strengthen a range of cognitive skills such as:
1. Spatial navigation: For example, a shooter’s video game helps enhance a player’s capacity to think about objects in three dimensions (even when the game is violent in genre).
2. Reasoning: For example, the tricks and combinations discovered by a play to fight against an enemy or win a racing game help in adding to his/ her reasoning quotient.
3. Memory and perception enhancement: Let’s say; there’s a game, which, at a certain level can have a different set of rules from another level. It is through this that a player can learn the tricks and keep the same route in mind.
4. Education and career development: Spatial navigation, enhancement in memorization and understanding can help boost one’s academic performance with such skills. Puzzles and role-playing games can help a video game player achieve an enhanced thinking approach.
Check out review of Spicetoons – a fun and educational virtual world for kids
5. Improvement in problem-solving skills: Role-playing games and surpassing hurdles that are set-up in treasure hunt games, for example, can help players find corrective measures and solutions to win the game on their own. The more adolescents reported to have played strategic video games, the more improvement they showed in problem solving matters that even resulted in better school grades the following year; according to a long-term study published recently by APA and Indian Psychological Association(IPA).
6. More Creativity: Playing any kind of video game can help kids imagine and visualise things better, as per IPA and APA studies. This results in higher levels of thinking that’s beyond the obvious, thereby, helping kids get more creative.
7. Encourages a good mood– Simple games, such as “Angry Birds,” can perk up players’ moods, encourage relaxation and help them get rid of anxiety completely. If playing video games makes people happier, this seems to be an essential emotional benefit to consider.
8. Ability to not give up: Playing video games can make a player continuously come back to win a level and move further. This helps a player build a stronger resilience to failure. By learning to cope with ongoing failures in games, children build emotional hardiness they can rely upon in their everyday lives.
9. Becoming more helpful: Multiplayer games like Farmville and Spicetoons, are virtual social communities today, where decisions need to be made quickly about whom to trust or reject and how to lead a group. This shows that people who play these games are more likely to be helpful to others.
10. Healthy competitiveness: Kids who get involved in video games and play with others tend to become competitive that helps them become more dedicated in resolving problems immediately by choosing the best from various available solutions/ ways in a hope to win the games eventually. This helps them stay ahead in their personal lives too.
Like everything else, it is best if video games are played in moderation. As long as your kids have other interests and hobbies in the “real” world as well, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t enjoy a bit of fun and non-violent video/online games as well!
Image source: via Google Images