Parents tend to focus mainly on the bad side of video games more than the good side. In fact, many would argue that there really aren’t any good sides to a child playing video games, except for it keeping them occupied and quiet for a while. (And sometimes they can get pretty loud when they’re playing those games anyway!)
A lot of people associate games with violence, time-wasting, and laziness. But the facts simply don’t align with this view all that well. Yes, gaming can be a time-consuming activity that kids engage in instead of doing other things like homework and chores. And yes, reading good books is better for them. But are games really all that bad? The answer is no. In fact, it seems that many studies would argue that gaming can be beneficial to your child’s development.
Problem-solving and creativity
When people think about games developing problem-solving skills, they often think only of puzzle games, or even games that are directly advertised as education games. Games like the Legend of Zelda series require players to search, plan, and solve puzzles in order to progress. Most games these days feature strong problem-solving elements that can be beneficial to a child’s development of these skills.
While the claim that video games are art is questionable (which isn’t to denigrate them; it’s simply a complex question!), there’s no denying that there is a tremendous potential for artistic expression within video games. Games like Minecraft and The Sims allow players to truly appreciate the intricacies of beautiful design, as do games that have incredible graphics. This is especially true if you’re using the right display to show off those artistic elements, like something from this list of the best monitors for gaming.
Parents tend to see gaming as a very isolating experience. Kids, on the other hand, and many others who are into the ‘scene’, know that it can actually be a very social experience. Online multiplayer is the first thing some may think of, though some parents may want to review some safety tips for it. There is also local multiplayer – gaming lingo for people playing the same game in the same room, like in the old days! – that can help kids interact and solve problems together. (Or encourage healthy competition!) Outside of the gaming itself, it also gives kids a lot of talk about with their peers. After all, a lot of kids these days are playing these games!
Games like The Talos Principle, the Civilization series, and the Age of Empires series are very educational about history – the Civilization series, in particular, encourages deep thought about strategy, politics, and historical context. (The more recent Valiant Hearts: The Great War can be a great educational experience about the first World War, but its disturbing content might be more suitable for kids over the age of 12!) These games have been known to spark children’s interests in world history, mythology, geography, and even international relations!
What this highlights is how important what game you kid plays is. The specific technology you use is important, too.