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How Video Games are Beneficial to Children

Video games have been in the homes of almost all families, and parents spend a substantial amount of time asking their children to do something other instead of playing video games (Villines). They have become a part of children’s life and their second nature. Video games rarely seem to be good for anyone, especially children. Indeed, addictive playing all day and night offers no positive impact. However, playing the right kind of video games has a lot of positive outcomes. In order to keep kids from getting into something destructive, parents should watch their children and give them a structure concerning the games they play. The problem is that the majority of parents focus their attention on the potential dangers, but not on the potential benefits of playing video games. However, a majority of video games is a powerful tool that helps to develop a hand-eye coordination, raise confidence and self-esteem, strengthen the nervous system, provide mental challenges for problem solving, and helps educators in looking for the ways to supplement classroom teaching (Olson).

The European parliament has concluded that computer games are beneficial for children as they teach them essential life skills. Thus, spending hours on the Playstation or Xbox video should not pose a threat to parents. It has also been noted that there is no proof that playing violent games has a negative impact on the behavior of children. Moreover, video games have the ability to stimulate learning of such skills as creativity, strategic thinking, innovative thinking, and cooperation (Booth).

Researchers from the University of Rochester found that children, who played video games, had a good hand-eye co-ordination and were quick thinkers. Hardened players got faster on a variety of laboratory tests of reaction time. In addition, playing video games increased mental skill performance, special and visual memory, as well as enhanced ability to perform tasks, which require divided attention (Alleyne).

It has been stated that video games provide children with the following skills:

  1. Multitasking and heightened attention. Video games can improve several brain activity aspects, including multi-tasking, vision and better attention.
  2. Accuracy. Games train children make faster decisions and remain accurate.                
  3. Education and enhanced learning. Kids can receive basic everyday skills from traditional games. For example, World of Warcraftteaches to promote teamwork, delegate responsibility and make people follow a common goal.
  4. Better abilities of decision making and information processing. Research provided by the Office of Naval Research states that games can help kids to process information much faster, solve problems in novel contexts and improve their fundamental abilities. Gaming platforms offer an interactive way to learn and apply information in context.
  5. Community awareness and social interaction. Some games can help families in playing together and getting a better contact with each other. For example, Dance Central 2 or Just Dance 3 will allow young kids to dance alongside their grandparents.
  6. Professional development and career skills. Federation of American Scientists has stated that kids must play video games more often. They say that video games have the potential to help in addressing the most urgent problem of preparing for a competitive global market (Steinberg). It has been researched that video games can teach higher-order thinking skills, including interpretative analysis, strategic thinking, plan formulation, problem solving, and adaptation to rapid change (“The Benefits of Video Games”). 
  7. Teamwork and cooperation. Many games provide the cooperative aspects of a game play as sometimes it is required to play the game having two or more players, makingan emphasis on the cooperative aspects of a game play (Steinberg). For example, Kirby’s Epic Yarn or Lego Star Wars require two or more players and engage them in solving of in-game issues (“The Benefits of Video Games”). 
  8. Anticipation and strategy. Video games teach children to deal with problems during a very short period of time, while following their long-term goals.
  9. Self-esteem and confidence. Researchers have tested games that are specifically designed to help people improve their self-esteem. Even games that are not designed to do so, make kids feel a sense of achievement. Through puzzles and discovery, kids learn to succeed in ways that the brain actually prefers. Players are free to explore, utilize, achieve success, growing in self-esteem (Steinberg), and a sense of achievement. Puzzles, discovery and exploration teach players to succeed in achieving new skills (“The Benefits of Video Games”). 
  10. Physical fitness and championing exercise. Kids need a healthy physical and mental exercise. Today, there are such motion-controlled platforms like Microsoft’s Kinect on Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii. They help kids to enjoy games and have physical exercises at the same time (Steinberg).
  11. Communication skills. Video games that engage children to take part in teamwork help them develop the effective communication skill. As some games require a lot of communication with other players, they may improve typing, writing and reading skills.
  12. Reading skills. The player should read the instructions in order to understand the game and play it successfully. 
  13. Motor skills. Video games have proven to improve the motor skills of the player and are widely used as a part of physiotherapy for those, who are recovering from physical injuries. 
  14. Observation and exploration. Modern video games often provide totally new worlds, which are very interesting to kids. These worlds make children think critically as they have to analyze, observe, look for different things and perform other activities. 
  15. Competition. All people have a competitive craving. Nonetheless, not all of them are good at it. Video games let kids compete in different situations. Children are encouraged to compete as they will be the fastest to complete the game, win something, collect rewards, achieve a higher level, and other benefits. Sometimes, these achievements may seem meaningless to parents, but they are very important for children.
  16. Surviving and Winning. Some games teach children how to survive in difficult situations, win, and act quickly.
  17. Logistics, resource management and planning. Children learn to manage limited resources and decide how to use them in the most beneficial way. They may use these skills in their future life. It has been found that such games as Age of Empires, SimCity, and Railroad Tycoon inspired a lot of young players to choose a career in architecture and urban planning.
  18. Situational awareness. Many games make children take sudden solutions and adapt to the changes.
  19. Quick thinking and making fast analysis. Some games require a constant analysis and give the brain a real workout. Moreover, games, which provide stressful events, may be a useful tool for the real situations.

One of the key benefits of playing video games is that they distract children from pain. It has been found that video games have a positive effect on people, who suffer from injuries or diseases. The games distract them from discomfort and pain, as well as keep them busy. Nowadays, a lot of hospitals encourage children, who suffer from painful treatments to play video games.

Among other positive effects the video games have, one should mention fun, feeling of comfort with technology, development of skills of counting, helping and caring behavior, improvement of visual spatial ability (visualization of object in two or three dimensions), disease management and health promotion, facilitation of language development (following the directions and reading simple words like Start’, ‘Go’, etc.), memory and mapping, as well as goal setting (“Video Games and their Effects on Children”; “Positive Benefits of Video Games”). It has been found that video games may have an invaluable impact in the settings of health care (“Video Games and their Effects on Children”).

Video games are considered to have a great positive potential, as well as entertainment value. Moreover, they bring a considerable success, when designed to address specific problems or have the aim to teach certain skills (Griffiths 47). It is evident that the most popular modern games are violent, but there are still a lot of those, which are of a different nature. Nevertheless, it has been stated that even violent video games havethe strongest beneficial effect on the children’s brain. The researchers claim that the type of game does not matter and most of them are mind-enhancing. They believe that video games make changes in the neural circuits of the brain (Rasmussen).

Thus, video games may help in terms of improving the way one is thinking, learning, moving, cooperating, helping, growing, empathizing and contribute towards the ability of seeing the world from other perspectives (“The Benefits of Video Games”). In order to be sure that a video game will make a positive effect on a child, it is necessary to analyze the game, taking into account the type of the game, its objectives, required level, number of players, rules, difficulty, duration, characteristics, participant age, setting and role of luck (Griffiths 50).

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