Should I let my child play videos games?
Because of the main stream accessibility to games and apps, this concern hits home for a lot of parents.
Even if you yourself are not a “gamer,” chances are your child will want to play the video games and apps they hear about in school.
So what’s the right answer?
Should you allow your child to play video games?
And my answer is…
Video games, if used correctly, can greatly benefit your child’s growth and learning! Video games follow LGP’s core philosophy of making learning so fun, your child doesn’t even know they’re learning!
Through playing games, your child is actually developing multiple skillsets at the same time. Below I’ve picked out the three top skills your child could be learning while having game time.
(Notice the caveat “if used correctly”… check out my Video Game Guidebook to see my hacks at getting the most out of video games here)
3 things video games can do for your child
#1 – Hand-Eye Coordination
Personally I am a gamer. I grew up with it and I learned a lot from it. So I know first hand that video games can help with more hand-eye coordination.
When you’re playing on a game console, you’re not looking at your hands most of the time. You are looking at the screen. So your body has to develop a muscle memory of the controller you’re holding so that you can maneuver through the game as needed. At first the controls are hard and cumbersome. But with more practice, it becomes so natural that you don’t even have to think about what you want to do, you just do it.
What’s coming into play here is when your child is looking at the screen, they are able to create a 3-D space in a 2-D plane. They create their own depth perception of the flat screen they are looking at. This allows their brain to calculate how far it needs to move, what kind of movement they need to make, etc. Their brain then translates that information into actual movements that relate to the controller.
Imagine, if your child can to all that just by looking at a screen, what more if they translate that ability to the real world!
Just like with the controller they will need some tools and the opportunity to gain the muscle memory for their movements. However, since the connection has already been made, it will happen quicker and more efficiently!
This results in steadier fine motor movements and quicker physical adjustments to visual stimulation.
#2 – Imagination
Video games are like electronic books. When you read, words paint the world for you. In video games, you get to discover that world. You can see things you never imagined in ways you never imagined.
You could discover 12 different types of dragons or travel to worlds with lush mysterious trees.
You can travel through time. Or for a moment feel like you are literally holding magic in your hand.
A healthy dose of video games can open your child’s imagination up to more possibilities.
A good video game like Minecraft can even challenge your child to think outside the box to create a world from nothing.
Exercising your child’s imagination will help them problem solve easier, make connections quicker, and open them up to being more creative and expressive.
#3 – Problem solving skills
Video games are great tools to use to help your child work on problem solving skills.
Some games, like role playing games, give you quests that you have to work through. Many games will give you clues for what to do, but for the most part you will have to figure it out on your own. You will have to read between the lines, investigate, and think out of the box.
Many role playing games also have a part of game where you will be dealing with statistics that either make a character stronger or weaker. Or where you may have to choose between two different pieces of equipment.
All these things help your child with basic critical thinking skills.
Working with statistics will help your child think analytically about the world in front of them. Comparing equipment will teach your child how to make decisions based on pros and cons or based on what’s best for the situation.
They will even learn to choose the members of their team based on the characters’ strengths and weaknesses.
Just like with the benefits of good hand-eye coordination, honing these skills in a video game space will give your child the ability to apply those same skills in the real world quicker.
Of course not all video games are created equally.
Some are more suited for learning than others. But that’s where you come in.
Use your better judgement when choosing what games your child has access to. Choose something within their age range and development stage.
While learning games are great for academic practice, don’t just stop there. Life is more than just academics! Choose games that will help your child develop holistically.
Good luck with your video game quest!
As always, thank you for joining me on this journey!
See you at the next step!
P.S. If you’re not a gamer, but you would like your child to gain some of these benefits, try learning the game with them! We are all about lead by example. This is will give you an opportunity to screen the game as well as show your child your problem solving skills!