While the video game industry has been booming the past decade, it still can’t manage to shake off its reputation of being a “bad influence” on children. Until now, parents and the general public tend to blame video games for a child’s susceptibility to violence, low grades, and overall exhaustion.
Many parents find it difficult to see past the bad reputation of video games that it often comes as a surprise that they actually have a lot of important benefits kids simply can’t miss out on.
Curious? Let’s dive into seven of the most important life skills kids can learn while playing video games.
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Video Games Can Teach Kids How to Solve Complex Problems
Contrary to popular belief, not all video games have something to do with mindless shooting. Some games like those in the Zelda franchise, the Lego series, Super Mario Bros, and many more, are all about solving problems and puzzles to achieve in-game goals.
Puzzle difficulty ranges from easy to challenging in a lot of these games, which tends to translate into hours of fun and thinking for both children and adults alike.
Usually, such puzzles have something to do with doing certain things in order, following logical rules to achieve a goal, and solving riddles.
In fact, according to a study done in 2013, “the more adolescents reported playing strategic video games, such as role-playing games, the more they improved in problem-solving and school grades the following year, according to a long-term study published in 2013.”
Similar studies have even shown that shooter games are beneficial to a child’s spatial development, which is important in the fields of science and engineering.
Of course, for those who are worried about the direct benefit of video games to children’s grades, there are also genres of games that deal with academic learning and sharpening the mind with daily mental exercises, such as solving math problems and checking one’s understanding of grammar.
Video Games Can Help Kids Develop a Sense of Community
The most popular games don’t revolve around solo players anymore. Team games have taken the world by storm, introducing competition and teamwork into the colorful world of gaming.
Not only that, online discussions and communities built around each game are centered on chatting about and building friendships around these new waves of immersive media.
In fact, social media platforms are keeping up with this demand to communicate about games– even as we play them!
A platform like Twitch allows people to stream their gaming sessions to a wide audience, providing a forum for live feedback and discussions as though they’re watching you play in the same room.
Discord is a messaging platform initially thought up for gamers, so players can communicate with ease during team matches.
If talking all day on the phone or spending nights at the movies used to be how previous generations spent time with their friends, today, these social media platforms are the hippest places to be – and they can make any child feel more confident and attuned with themselves and with their peers.
Video Games Can Teach Kids a Sense of Collaboration and Cooperation
As stated earlier, team games have become all the rage in recent times. Games like Rocket League, League of Legends, and CS:GO require massive teamwork to score victories – which is why eSports are treated like regular sports, where teams train together to win championships and similar competitions.
Introducing a strong sense of camaraderie and collaboration through these games can help your children understand what it’s like to be on a team and how every role makes their own contribution to each and every victory (or defeat).
Still not convinced? Check out the teamwork in this video of gamers playing Rocket League, a game like soccer, except you’re a vehicle instead of a person.
Video Games Can Give Kids Goals and a Sense of Accomplishment
A lot of video games come with set goals built in. Single-player games and multiplayer games tend to have a certain end or a certain way to challenge their players – else, they’d be pretty boring!
In a lot of competitive games, a statistic known as a matchmaking ranking or MMR presents a huge challenge in itself. A high MMR means that you’re a skilled player and that you’ve climbed your way through various matches, taking in more wins than losses.
Your MMR can be seen as an achievement or a testament of how good you are in the game or of how good a team player you are.
The MMR is also a mechanism that matches you up with players that have a similar rank as yours, so everyone can play comfortably on the same level and learn new skills as they go.
It’s this goal-oriented approach in a lot of games that can teach children how to appreciate victories and how to learn from defeats.
Video Games Can Give Kids Educational Opportunities
A growing number of colleges and universities are offering scholarships for eSports, especially for games like League of Legends and Valorant where team play and a sharp game sense is crucial.
It’s not impossible that your child could become a professional eSports gamer and represent their teams in matches.
Video Games Can Lead to a Lot of Different Career Opportunities
Of course, once your child represents the college of their choice in various competitions and championships, there may be a lot of gaming career opportunities for them to choose from once they graduate.
Your child can grow up to be an eSports coach, an eSports agent, a game designer, a video editor, a shoutcaster… or they can remain as a professional eSports gamer.
The field of gaming and eSports continues to grow, and job opportunities will grow with it. To top it off, despite their novelty, these are actually high-paying careers, as they are high in demand.
Video Games Can Give Kids a Way to Relate to Their Parents
If you used to play games like Super Mario Bros, Galaga, or Pac-Man growing up, it can make it easier for you to relate with and talk to your kids. After all, video games are video games – you’ll catch up with the latest ones in no time, especially if you used to play.
Growing up with video games can be part of the solid foundation you and your child are building, and playing games with them helps to grow this relationship even more.
Not only are you spending time with your child, you’re also diving into their interests and into the way they learn new things during their free time. To top it all off, video games are a great way to talk about difficult subject like bullying, online friends, competition, lifestyle preferences, and a lot more.
I hope this article helped you to see some of the positive effects video games can have on kids.
If you have any more insights on life skills your kids can develop through video games, or if you want to share any sort of feedback, feel free to do so in the comments section.