Saturday, June 15 2024

Video games have long since become a form of entertainment for millions of children.

There are many, from parents to psychologists to industry associations, who point the finger at such games, emphasizing their negative effects, foremost among them the risk of addiction that can lead to psychological disorders and physical unhealthiness.

However, as in everything, video games, if used with balance and control, can have positive aspects and bring benefits, helping children in their intellectual and emotional development, for example. In fact, video games can be are a very useful tool for stimulating cognitive processes related to understanding implicit and explicit information, developing inductive and deductive reasoning, and even problem-solving. In general, it is recognized that in many video game environments, the skills directly developed are to be linked to both strategic thinking and communicative and creative skills, that is, they create dynamics of “mental exercise” for the development of numerous cognitive skills. In short, there has long existed, a whole literature in favor of the benefits that video games can bring to our children.

Familyandmedia also, in its 2016 research, highlighted positive aspects of video games, such as the opportunity for socialization and team building, finding that in many cases gaming is not just a waste of time but also an opportunity for education.

The 5 advantages of a good video game

Of course, a basic premise must be made. Not all video games are good. There are violent video games, full of action and combat, which should be avoided. But there are many other types of video games, such as strategy, sports, logic and social games, which are instead indicated and recommended. These types of video games, again through proper and moderate use, can have benefits for children. Let’s see which ones. 

  1. They are a source of imagination and creativity. Video games recreate an imaginary world in which the characters, story and settings do not exist in the real world. This fiction allows children to stimulate and enhance the development of their creative ability
  2. They stimulate psycho-physical development. Video games develop sensory perception, motor and eye-hand coordination in children. Consider, for example, games that simulate sports activities such as tennis or racket-ball.
  3. They increase dexterity. The increase in difficulty in a video game increases in parallel with the skill required to overcome it. This is a way to rise the child’s confidence and self-esteem as he sees how he is able to improve little by little.
  4. They stimulate decision-making in emergency situations. Video games can be a valuable stimulus to increase decision-making and problem-solving skills in different scenarios and contexts, such as when there is a puzzle or basic mathematical knowledge is required.
  1. They develop reasoning and analytical skills. Strategy games, for example, allow children to develop reasoning or make use of logic to solve problems and find solutions in a pragmatic and rational way. Many times children, in a real situation, are unable to make decisions for fear of the consequences if they make a mistake. Thus, while differentiating between fiction and reality, video games prove to be an excellent platform for fostering the ability to solve everyday problems and finding possible solutions or answers. It is a way, outside the school sphere, to develop thinking skills in children.

5 practical tips for parents

Finally, dear parents, for you here are 5 brief practical tips that we suggest when relating to the world of video games with your children.

  1. It is a good opportunity to spend time with your child. Playing with your child, besides being a good excuse to spend time together, is a way to be able to control the content of the video games your child spends time with.
  2. Set some rules and limits. Instead of banning your child from using video games, it is important to set some rules, explain the consequences of breaking them, and be consistent in their enforcement. In this way your child will gradually acquire self-control and a sense of responsibility.
  3. Use parental controls. If you are concerned about inappropriate content, such as violent video games, put in parental control filters. Every modern game console now allows this.
  4. Play games with your child and challenge them! Playing games is much easier than it sounds. Turn on the console and let the game drive you, so you can share that experience with your children. Challenging them is the best way to empathize with them.
  5. Become familiar with new technologies. Finally, video games can be a fun way for parents and children to learn about new technologies together.
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