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Video Games Day: 5 Benefits of Video Games for Children

The 12th of September is recognized as Video Games Day everywhere. It’s a day to celebrate the beauty, creativity, and fun of your favorite games either by meeting up with friends and playing together or grabbing your controller and diving into that new level you just can’t seem to pass.

benefits of video games for children

Video games have been a large and growing part of our culture for a long time. Whether you’re a huge the Witcher fan or are playing Candy Crush on your way to work, you’re part of the gaming world. 

However, the video games world has had to deal with a lot of negative claims over the years. From saying that they cause short-term memory loss to getting most of the blame for the recent increase in violence. 

While some of those claims might be true and some have yet to be scientifically proven to be correct (we’re looking at you “increase in violence due to video games”), video games have been proven to also have a lot of benefits.

For children especially, parent-approved games that are played in moderation can help develop essential cognitive and social skills.

The following are only some of the benefits kids can gain from playing video games:

1. Video Games teach problem-solving skills

problem solving

All video games have a certain set of rules and objectives that the player needs to achieve in order to win or finish the game. This means that the player needs to carefully think and sometimes make split-second decisions about what his next “move” will be. 

By playing video games kids can improve in three areas: planning, organization, and flexible thinking. Think about it for a second. Games like Minecraft for example, require the player to search, negotiate, plan, and try different approaches in order to advance.

2. Improve coordination and memory

The activities and actions on-screen while playing video games provide a lot of mental stimulation. When a child is playing a video game, he’s not just staring mindlessly at the TV or monitor. In order to play, they’ll need to be able to coordinate their visual, audial and physical movements, improving their overall coordination. 

Kids also need to remember rules, paths and keyboard combinations for special moves which helps improve their short and long-term memories. 

3. Enhance multitasking skills

Some video games, especially adventure and action games, encourage kids to be very observant and multitask. For example, they might have to move their joystick around, while looking at various elements on the screen and make split-moment decisions that are vital to winning.

4. Video games can boost creativity

In a recently conducted study, researchers identified that there are certain games that encourage players to be creative. The study had 353 participants that either had to play Minecraft with or without instructions. They were then asked to draw a creature from a different world. The more humanoid their drawing was, the less creative points the kids received. 

The results were surprising. Kids that played Minecraft with complete freedom to do whatever they wanted displayed higher creativity levels in their drawings.

5. Kids can improve social and teaching skills through video games

A recent study published in the Review of General Psychology provided some great insights into the social skills games can provide children. Results from over 1,000 interviews with parents and teachers revealed that interactions between kids revolve a lot around sharing knowledge on the most recent games they and their friends are playing. 

Some kids even gain the “go-to” status for all the best tips. That’s great for a number of reasons! Teaching others builds social and communicational skills, as well as patience and confidence.

If you are a parent that has been severely limiting computer play-time, you might want to reconsider. Most of the claims about the harmful effects of video games are just that, claims. Now, we’re not saying to let your child play video games as much as he or she wants.

Moderation and the content of those video games are important. But, there are real positive effects they can have on a child’s development. Just keep in mind that the kinds of mental skills that video games nurture may be increasingly important in today’s world.

However, if you’re still worried about the time kids spend playing video games we have just the solution for you. We’ve only recently launched a new kit designed to teach kids the skills they can get by playing video games, whilst also teaching them how to create their own games. Best of all? This is something the whole family can play together on a Sunday afternoon! Head over to Kickstarter to see what the Arcade Coder is all about.