When parents think about how much time their children spend playing video games, they're typically concerned with the various health risks and conditions commonly associated with video gaming addiction. However, with proper moderation and parental supervision, your child can take advantage of the many positive effects of video games like the ones listed below:
1. Physical Activity
There are many video games on the market, both for consoles and computers, which require some type of physical activity. Whether it's dancing or playing the guitar, parents have the option of purchasing games for their children that will force them to move about rather than sitting on the couch all day.
2. Fitness and Nutrition
Many video games are available that incorporate fitness, nutrition and healthy living into the game's main objectives. Video games that are meant to simulate outdoor sports are fun alternatives for outdoor exercises, and can be done at any time of the day, no matter what the weather is outside. Some video games are entirely based on physical fitness, giving the player weight-loss goals and physical achievements to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
3. Hand-eye Coordination
Regular video game play can increase your child's dexterity, which is very useful for performing day-to-day activities, work functions and playing sports. There are numerous exercises that can be performed to improve your child's hand-eye coordination, but most of them aren't as appealing and rewarding to your child as playing a video game.
4. Social Skills
A lack of social skills and the ability to interact with others on a regular basis can be detrimental to a child's development and can even lead to depression. Children who are shy and lack confidence when socializing with their peers may have an easier time opening up while playing video games. With online gaming, children can even interact with a multitude of individuals, even complete strangers. Approaching someone you hardly know, like a new classmate or coworker, and striking up a conversation can be quite challenging in real life, but in a video game setting, there is a sense of anonymity and security that enables people to overcome their fears of interacting with someone they don't know.
5. Improved Learning Ability
The complexity of most video games gives your child a chance to enhance cognitive skills like problem solving, decision making and reasoning. Video games have evolved to a point where the user must take control and think for themselves, rather than aimlessly inputting simple commands through a video game controller. Often times, video games require the player to solve riddles that require patience and creativity before they can advance to the next portion of the game.
6. Good Sportsmanship and Fair-play
Good sportsmanship and fair-play are values that are commonly developed in youth sports and organizations. Video games offer another outlet to teach your children these values, especially through regular, online gaming, where players are constantly competing with one another.
7. Stress Reduction
With the pressures of fitting in, performing well in extracurricular activities and meeting the expectations of parents and educators, it's no wonder that even children have to cope with a great deal of stress. Video games offer your child an outlet for reducing their stress levels by relieving them of the pressures they face in the outside world. Children can completely immerse themselves in the video game, if only for a short while.
8. Team Work
Cooperation and a need for strong team work are more prevalent in video games than ever. Online gaming requires players to communicate effectively with their team, while following directions and performing the tasks expected of them to achieve victory. Much like basketball, baseball or any other team sport, strong team work is crucial in video games.
9. Coping Mechanism
Whether they are dealing with physical or emotional pain, video games can be a sufficient coping mechanism for most people. Video games offer people a chance to escape the outside world, which can be especially useful after a serious injury or dealing with a traumatic experience. They are also useful to anyone suffering an illness or health condition that confines them to their bedroom. The next time your child is suffering from a sore throat or abdominal pain, allow him or her to play some video games to cope with the pain.
10. Video Games Make People Happy
One of the biggest positive effects video games can have on a person is the fact that they make people happy. However, it is important to moderate the amount of time spent playing video games, for there is the possibility that this tool for happiness can quickly turn into an addiction.
It is only through moderation that video games can be fully utilized for the positive effects they can have on a person. Allow your children to play video games every so often, or even use it as a reward; just remember to put a reasonable time limit and make sure your child is also living a life outside of the virtual world.