This past holiday season, a new phone, the newest console (PlayStation5 or Xbox Series X) or video games were probably at the top of most kids’ lists. It’s likely the gifts your children received this holiday included games and electronics. One study suggests that of the top 10 presents kids wanted this holiday, seven were related to technology. Once your child receives a new video game or electronic device, they’ll want to play with it, sometimes nonstop. In the past, we might have told them to go outside for some fresh air or get together with friends or family members to get in some social play. But during a pandemic where social distancing and isolation is the norm, here are eight reasons you should let your child play video games:
- Video games are great for learning. Learning is facilitated by video games’ capacity to match the child’s level of mastery to the amount of challenge presented. These games also give immediate feedback on performance. Students who do not learn as well in traditional settings often find digital technologies and media to be incredibly powerful tools for learning academic subjects.
- Technology can strengthen family ties. Playing together can make for closer relationships amongst family members. In particular, research shows that girls who play more video games with their parents display lower levels of depression, anxiety and aggression.
- Video games teach 21st-century skills. Most of the world now runs on technology, making the development of 21st-century skills the most important goal of our educational system. Video games help kids practice skills such as collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving.
- Video games can support outside interests. Research shows that kids who play sports video games are more likely to spend time going outside to actually play those sports. Many times, games have the ability to introduce new concepts and activities to children who may have never otherwise encountered them.
- Video games can teach important thinking skills such as organization, planning, cognitive flexibility. Our research at LearningWorks for Kids demonstrates that children use these skills in games and, with parental, peer, or educator assistance, can then connect them to real-world learning.
- Video games provide an opportunity for children to become more socially-engaged and active. Video games can do more than just entertain children. Kids can learn about NASA moon missions (Apollo), underwater ecosystems (BBC Earth: California Coast) and finding balance between nature and technology (Bioharmonious).
- Video games can be a source of stress relief. Video games are often task oriented and consist of a series of short, achievable goals. Children who play videos can sometimes enter a meditative state that allows them to get into what some practitioners call ”the zone” when playing these types of games. This Is a state that actively promotes reduced stress.
- Video games allow children to stay social while remaining socially distanced. Isolation during a pandemic has harmful effects on children’s social skills. However, gamers have found that they create lasting friendships when they play video games. Many new outlets have emerged to enable safe socialization.
So when your kid wants to transition from unwrapping to plugging in, it may be beneficial to let them. Maybe even grab a controller and join them!
Playing video games give children the opportunity to learn and grow in ways they may otherwise struggle to, all while remaining socially distanced and safe. The technology they really want can facilitate their success with the help of your guidance and participation.
What games have you and your children been playing the most during the pandemic? Let us know in the comments below!