For parents and teachers who worry that video games are rotting kids' brains, new research is suggesting otherwise. The University of Victoria recently published a study that indicates video games can actually be good for kids. Dr. Kathy Sandford headed up the study, which analyzed the impact that video games have upon life skills that children learn.
There are some obvious examples, such as problem solving, that video games actually serve well. However, there's evidence beyond of other elements that can help a child succeed. Video games can help develop skills assessment, leadership abilities, and negotiation skills, too.
This is especially true in multi-player games in which gamers have to work together, figure out who has the best skills for a particular role, and work toward a shared goal. Does this sound anything like skills employed in a corporate environment? As it turns out, kids are already beginning the climb of the corporate ladder with the following seven abilities honed by video games.
There's no denying that kids are so focused on their games of choice that they're sometimes oblivious to anything else. This can translate into study habits, if children figure out how to become just as engaged in what they are learning. Unlike a video game, studying isn't always the most exciting option on the table. However, if youths can re-direct their focus in a positive direction, they can get great results.
2. Ethical and moral decisionmaking
Ethics and morals are a surprisingly big part of gaming; and the same is true of studying. For example, should Junior properly study for the big test or try to cheat? This is a black-and-white example, but subtler versions of the same choices are evident throughout school.
3. Time management
Some parents impose strict time management on gaming. Their kids might not like it, but they are learning skills that can help with studying. The approach is merely flipped: while they want to enjoy every minute of gaming, they also learn to buckle down for every minute of studying.
4. Depending on technology
Every year, students are required to use technology for school work, whether it's a website development project or simply turning in homework online. By keeping up to date with technology trends, kids are more likely to succeed in school and in work. The nuances of technology are great, but there's a reason kids pick it up easier than adults.
As in multi-player games, more than ever teachers are encouraging group work. Learning how to collaborate with teammates to achieve a goal, especially when it's an A-grade project, helps set them up for career success. Don't automatically assume that hard-core gamers are loners. Many of them work in groups more than the average Joe.
6. Puzzle solving
Whether it's a game or homework, there's a puzzle or problem to be solved. These critical thinking skills can be applied to every facet of a child's life. Learning how to approach different problems is key to academic success. Just like reading Harry Potter for fun, kids intuitively learn how to write and edit.
7. Tuning out
Most parents get annoyed when kids completely zone out with video games, but that can actually be a very useful study skill. Nobody can guarantee that study space will be 100 percent free of noise and distractions. However, kids who can tune out distractions can study (as well as game) better.
Does this mean that all parents should rush out and buy the latest gaming platform for their kids? Of course not, but it does suggest that the bigger picture should be considered the next time the kids race to their game of choice. Kids should enjoy a wide range of activities, not just video games. Try adding arts and crafts, sports, traditional board games, and other hobbies into the mix.