Video Games - Their Potential Benefits For Children
While there are admittedly some bad things about video games, it is impossible to ignore video games and their potential benefits for children. Here we discuss six benefits, though there are several others. The bottom line is that it is up to the parent to decide what is appropriate for their child in terms of gaming systems, game titles, and frequency of play. Each child is different, so what works for one may not work for another. When parents step in and take control, video games can be an incredible tool.
Reinforcement of Educational Lessons
Certainly not all video games will provide educational lessons, but with the advent of systems by companies such as LeapFrog and VSmile, there are plenty of educational games available. Games feature children’s favorite characters from television shows and movies, and help teach things from the alphabet to counting, to math, language, and even map reading skills. Purchase games that compliment your child’s knowledge level, other educational toys, and school curriculum to help them study and learn through the video game fun.
Improved Hand Eye Coordination and Motor Skills
Even when not using an exclusively educational system, children have to learn how to use the controller to make the character move on the screen accordingly. This helps improve hand eye coordination as the child has to look on the screen to know when to jump, as he also has to know what buttons to push to make the character jump. When using a system such as the VSmile Motion or the Nintendo Wii, the child must also actively participate in the game he or she is playing through running, jumping, or even shaking the remote.
Improving Self Confidence
When a child discovers he can pass a level he had trouble with before, he improves his self confidence by learning that he can do something he once thought he couldn’t. When he learns the precise timing he needs to use to make that big jump or beat the enemy, he also learns he can do it even though he didn’t think he could.
Promoting a Team Spirit
When sharing the game with another player, especially in something like Super Mario Bros. Wii where all players are on the same level on the same screen at the same time, it teaches the child about working as part of a team. Working as part of a team is a very important skill all children will need to learn and use frequently throughout life.
With video game play, children are more likely to become interested in creative outlets such as graphic or video game design. (My six year old told me the other day he wants to grow up to build Mario games, as a result of his gaming experiences, so I can personally attest to this.)
Improve Cognitive Skills
Several games make levels challenging, giving children choices to make as they progress through the level. As children play through the levels and either have to start over again or discover they’ve beaten the level, they enhance their decision making skills, as well as their memory. They for instance remember not to jump the first time, but the second time, to pass an obstacle that stood in their way the first time through.