If you’re a parent, teacher, or authority figure of some kind, odds are you have a negative view of video games. It’s not your fault ― all you see is young people sitting in front of a screen for hours on end not doing much of anything. But there can be an upside to kids playing video games, and here are eight reasons why you shouldn’t just dismiss them as the worst thing ever.
1. Improved Cognitive Skills
Research from the American Psychological Association shows that kids who play video games show improved cognitive skills. Their memory and reasoning improves, as does their spatial navigation, as many games create challenges for kids to rise above, necessitating improvement in their cognitive abilities.
2. Problem Solving
Many types of role-playing games force players to solving problems, a skill that often translates to real life. Studies have shown an increase in “brain flexibility” in those who played certain games, resulting in a faster and more accurate performance on psychological tests.
3. Eases Anxiety
Many games that are easy to play and easy to win have been shown to easy anxiety and give people and little boost in their self esteem. If you think about it, video games can be a nice little distraction, and if you succeed, you feel good about yourself for a minute. Some studies have shown that video games can also play a small role in reducing stress and depression.
A lot of video games have a basis in history, mythology, geography, and other subjects that are taught in school. Often times, kids can find a connection between something in a video game and something they learned in school, which can actually help to spark their interest in learning more about that topic.
Explore New Interests
Video games are a great way to explore new interests, and those new interests can often get them away from the TV and doing something more constructive, at least from the perspective of their parents. For instance, kids will enjoy playing sports video games and will then want to play that sport in real life, and seeing the amazing plays on the game may inspire them to train hard and become as good as they can at that sport.
Video games are often seen as an isolating activity, but that’s not necessarily true. Playing video games can actually be a group activity, regardless of whether kids are in the same room or playing with each other over the Internet. Video games allows kids the opportunity to teach other kids, learn from their peers, and perhaps even engage in a little friendly competition, which isn’t a bad thing.
If you’re a parent who’s hoping to bond with your kids, video games can be one way to do it. There are many games parents can play with their kids and that parents may actually enjoy. If you show your kids a willingness to connect with them on their level, it’ll help break down any barriers that exist and they may start to open up to you.
Playing and succeeding at video games can actually help a kid build confidence, especially if they struggle in that department elsewhere in life. Studies show this is particularly true when a player succeeds at a game with a positive goal. Moreover, failing at first but sticking with a game and eventually succeeding helps a kid develop resilience, something that will come in handy later in life.