Online video games can be a way to help complement your child’s learning and teach them about the key life skills. Get information on how this can benefit your child’s development.
How can online gaming benefit children?
Although online gaming is a form of entertainment, with the support and guidance of parents, it can help children develop their creativity, cultivate relationships with friends and improve strategic thinking.
It can also help them build perseverance to achieve goals, build resilience and improve their communication skills so they know how to respect other people’s points of view.
Here is a list of ways that games have proven to benefit children:
Learning and Development Benefits
A great source for developing early learning skills for younger children
Studies have shown that certain games can help younger children improve early reading skills with the support of parents and teachers. Games like ‘Times Rock Stars’ that are used in elementary schools and pre-school applications like Endless Alphabet can be great tools to help children learn in a more engaging way. Also, with the growth of connected toys, children can experience physical play while playing on devices. Educational toys like Osmo combine tactile play pieces with the camera of a device to bring the action to life.
Improves memory, brain speed and concentration
Games that are immersive and require strategy and problem solving skills to win, require players to remember and receive lots of information. Playing these types of games regularly can help improve children’s short and long-term memory and help the brain process information more quickly.
In addition, games capture the imagination of players, helping them to stay focused on certain tasks and building their perseverance to achieve a goal.
Improvement in multitasking skills
Games that require players to find items while fighting other opponents, require attention to detail and quick reactions. Studies have shown that playing these types of games can help children develop their multitasking skills.
Develop skills for future careers
The most complex multiplayer games help teach players to be strategic, analytical to assess risks and rewards, and require them to react quickly to changes in the game. All of these skills they use can be transferred to real-world jobs that depend on problem solving, analytical skills and strategic thinking.
Offer a new way to understand culture and perspectives
Because games allow children to immerse themselves in virtual worlds and sometimes connect with people from all over the world, it can be a great way to learn about different perspectives and cultures.
Physical and Social Benefits
Group play provides social benefits
Whether children are playing multiplayer games with friends or using applications like ‘Heads up’ with family in the living room, these types of games can help cultivate relationships through shared moments and improve their social skills. For some children who may have disabilities, it can be a way to socialize and make friends if they are restricted.
The best toys, games and connected applications for the whole family to share.
Promotes teamwork and builds confidence
Multiplayer games allow children to take on a variety of roles that allow them to learn how to manage a team if they are the leaders or negotiate ways to win as part of a group. Shared experience can be a great way to collaborate and learn from each other to increase children’s confidence.
Provides a fun way to stay active
The success of games like Pokemon GO and Zumba are an example of how games can help motivate children to become active while playing. In addition, the rise of mobile gaming applications means that children don’t need to be glued to a TV to play, they can now play on their GO. See our list of active applications that can help your child stay active while you play.
Providing a way to develop compassion
There are several games and applications that have been developed to help children manage their emotions and encourage kind, compassionate and empathetic behaviour. See our list of wellness applications to learn more.
Provide a safe context to talk about fears
Sometimes it may be easier to talk about concerns in a virtual context and games can provide a safe place for children to express themselves.
They are a new way to experience stories
Immersive games can help children experience stories in a more engaged way and shape the way the story is told to stimulate creative skills.
Create time and space to think more about the topics
Schools are increasingly using game-based learning to help students understand and think about complex topics to help build mathematical skills (e.g. STEM) or deal with scientific concepts. Gambling learning and allowing children to see things differently can encourage them to understand topics more quickly and deeply.
Why Do Children Like Games?
The game is a fun and sociable way to spend time, encouraging teamwork and developing skills. All the good things, but there are some things you need to know:
- Some games allow children to play and talk to anyone in the world. This means that they may encounter offensive language and intimidation
- Not everyone online is who they say they are. Children should avoid giving personal details that can identify them or their location
- Some games encourage players to buy extra elements during the game – children are known to run large accounts without realizing it
- In extreme cases of intimidation, also known as griefing, it can be used as a tactic to win games. Children can be bullied or intimidated
- Get involved by finding out what kind of games your child likes and making sure they are appropriate for their age
- It can be difficult to stop some games in the middle of a battle as there are penalties for giving up and children may feel they are leaving their teammates down.
What are the Kids doing while Playing Online?
Many other children watch others playing video games instead of playing on their own. So much so that we play videos – videos narrated from other people’s gameplay, often including jokes and humor – are the most watched videos broadcast live on video sharing platforms.
Tips to Keep Online Games Healthy
Each of the above sections offers suggestions on specific aspects of online gaming for parents to be aware of. In addition, there are some excellent steps you can take as a parent to guide your child to safe and healthy online play.
- Get involved by finding out what kind of games your child likes and making sure they are appropriate for their age.
- Play games together with your child and keep the technology in shared family spaces rather than bedrooms.
- Talk to them about who they’re playing and what information they’re sharing.
- Talk about what information is and isn’t appropriate to share, especially personal details that can identify them or their location.
- Talk about the financial costs of the games and combine how children will spend their money online.
- Discuss what they would do if they were bullied online and what are the appropriate actions to take next.
- Make sure you have set-up accounts yourself at regularly checked email addresses and with settings appropriate for your child’s age.
- Agree on how long it is appropriate to play in one session and how many sessions in one day. Then set these restrictions in your child’s parent settings.
PEGI (Pan European Gaming Information) labels appear on a game package indicating one of the following age levels: 3, 7, 12, 16 and 18. They provide a reliable indication of the suitability of game content for different ages. The descriptors will indicate the main reasons why a game has received a specific age rating. There are eight descriptors: bad language, discrimination, drugs, fear, gambling, sex, shopping in the application and violence. If you want to know more about this, see ‘Pegi Game Ratings’ explained in Parent Information.