Video games often get a bad rap. They’re addictive time wasters. They encourage sedentary behaviour. They’re not good for brain development. They encourage violence.
While it’s true that a small number of children or teens might have compulsive behaviour with video games, in general, a little bit of gaming doesn’t hurt — and in fact, it can have many positive benefits for kids and teens. This recent story details many ways that video games’ bad reputations are unearned. It also talks about many of the ways that video games can help foster positive qualities in children.
Here are some ways to ensure that video gaming in your home can be a positive, fulfilling and non-frustrating experience.
Choose video games with educational value
There are hundreds of fun, interesting video games out there that have educational content at their core. A quick Google search will turn up dozens of articles and references, such as this one, or this one.
Play with your children, or encourage your child to play with other children
While there’s nothing wrong with a little solo video game time, video games can be great social bonders. They foster fun competition and bond people in a common goal. This study found that multi-player video games encouraged civility and prosocial attitudes.
Do your research
While parents’ preference for their children to play non-violent games is certainly understandable, many studies, such as this one, show that there isn’t clear-cut evidence that violent games make children more violent. That being said, parents who do their research and try to seek out non-violent games that are engaging can have success in introducing different types of games to their children.
Make video games part of a roster of activities
There are some rare cases where video game playing can become compulsive. To avoid that, make sure you have other activities planned and clearly defined blocks of time for video games. It’s hard for kids to transition out of any enjoyable activity, so offering a clear transition might help, for example, “We’ll turn the game off one you get to the end of this level/when you reach 3000 points/when your turn ends.” This article offers some advice on handling transitions.
Why not make summer learning at Scholars part of your summer roster of activities? Find your centre today!