Do you know that there are actually benefits associated with video games for kids? A lot of parents, teachers, and guardians usually focus on the negative aspects while ignoring the benefits.
This post is for parents who are wondering if they should allow their kids to play video games. The truth is that there are always 2 sides to every story, almost everything has advantages and disadvantages.
We will try to bring balance to this and help you know how to use video games to the benefit of your child. Some parents argue that video games for kids will make them do bad in school, make them misbehave, or even become socially reclusive.
Well, this is not always the case and everything boils down to parental control. There are actually advantages in allowing your children to play video games from time to time.
Below are some of the advantages:
17 Surprising Benefits Of Video Games For Kids
1. Increases motor skills
Are you worried that your child is lacking in the aspect of fine motor skill coordination? A lot of studies advise that you give them video games.
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In some cases, children with motor skill problems were placed on several hours of video games each week.
2. Improves vision
As a parent, it is easy to blame video games if your child is complaining of eye pain or he/she has to wear glasses. However, studies have shown that playing video games occasionally will improve vision.
In one study, children who played sporadic video games for 10 weeks could differentiate between shades of grey compared to kids who didn’t play video games at all.
3. Promotes full-body movement
A lot of moms think video games will make children sedentary which is not good for their health. However, this is not the case today because recent games induce full-body movements.
In fact, children even sweat while playing video games because a body in motion stays in motion.
So you can choose games that teach your children that activity is fun and healthy. Go for video games that will help them move their bodies.
4. Burns calories
By inducing full-body movement, video games for kids can help them burn calories thereby preventing weight gain in children. But the games that do this are video games that require the children to remain active throughout the session.
Even if the physical activity involved is little, it is better than no activity. Children who need to lose weight are given active video games to play and they are also placed on a weight loss program.
These help them to lose weight and also maintain a healthy weight.
5. Reduces pain
It might sound like an exaggeration to say video games heal pain. But this is true and has been proven by studies.
The science behind this is that by paying attention to something pleasing, even when sad or physically hurt, the body will produce a numbing response in a child’s cortisol system.
It is even noticed that the more a child is immersed in a video game, the more they will focus their feelings and attention on it and not on the pains or aches going on in their bodies.
6. Increased balance
Studies also show that playing video games improves balance in children and the elderly, especially if your child lacks coordination at a young age.
You can take advantage of exercise-based video games to get the benefit of balance for your child.
7. Reduces cravings
It’s well known that kids overeat when they are bored. But when your child is actively engaged in a video game and his hands are busy, he will not stop to ask for snacks or even have the desire to indulge.
A study revealed that children who play video games have a 24% reduction in cravings. The games used in this study are problem-solving games or puzzles.
8. Improves memory
Research has given parents a hint that playing 3-D video games boosts children’s memory. 3-D games are more beneficial than 2-D games because they have more spatial information for your child to process.
3-D games are also more complex and it teaches your child more things than 2-D games. Apart from boosting memory, 3D games require your child to use special parts of their brain that boosts memory when stimulated.
9. Improves dyslexia
Children with dyslexia have difficulty paying attention, however, video games can help these kids and teach them how to focus. It also helps their reading comprehension (which needs a lot of focus).
Video games are of immense benefit to children with dyslexia because their scenes are constantly changing and that needs a lot of attention.
The more your child learns to focus, the more effort he/she will put into decoding and processing what they are reading.
10. Increases interest in school subjects
A lot of video games have historical settings and events and this, in turn, will leave your child with an intense interest in history.
This type of video game will broaden your child’s horizon, immerse them in lots of cultural situations, and even expose them to languages and visuals they wouldn’t have known.
Without these video games, the kids might not be willing to check their history texts.
11. Builds decision-making skills
A lot of video games need quick decision-making. It will help your child to develop a knack for thinking on their feet. This doesn’t stop here, it will also help them to be more inclined in the classroom and their homes.
Studies have shown that kids who play video games are more inclined to think fast than their mates who don’t play video games. This happens because video games have trained their minds and taught them how to think under pressure and make the right decisions.
12. Keep their minds young
Children who handle video game controllers keep their minds young by doing this. Video games keep one’s mind young, including adults, studies reveal.
You may have heard of the power of completing crossword puzzles daily. Video games also have similar power, they improve problem-solving abilities, memory, and critical thinking just like puzzles.
13. Triggers interest in technology
Lots of children have become tech-savvy just by playing video games, even studies attest to this fact. Video games help children pick an interest in coding and video games.
They also pick interest in knowing how stuff works in general. Video games boost curiosity in children and give them an edge in a fast-moving and high-tech world.
14. Promotes leadership skill
Forbes reported that some video games help develop leadership skills in children.
This happens because these video games hold the kid responsible for promoting the safety of the character or they require the child to complete a mission or tasks for the good of others.
This active play can help your child step into the limelight in school and also help them think quickly during a scene that needs fast problem-solving skills.
Video games will help your child solve real-world problems.
15. Increases social activity
A lot of video games for kids are designed for multi-players thereby giving kids a great opportunity to open up lines of communication between them and their playmates, parents, or siblings.
Video games for kids help in providing a common ground for common interests between children.
16. Teaches your kid to share
Video games for kids will teach your child how to share in a lot of ways. They will take turns playing a video game and they will also learn how a shared conversation occurs.
17. Imbibes storytelling
All video games tell a story thereby exposing your children to various genres like science fiction, history, etc. Video games also intensify your kid’s imagination and boost overall creativity.
Children who are allowed to play video games regularly are more inclined to write their own experiences, expand upon their favorite characters in their game, or even create new characters in their minds.
Disadvantages Of Video Games For Kids
1. Teaches kids violence
This is one area that parents have to be careful about video games for kids. Studies involving brain scans are disturbing.
Don’t allow your kids to play violent video games, it reduces the activities in the areas of the brain responsible for self-control. It also increases emotional arousal.
Instead of stopping your child totally from playing games, choose kid-appropriate games. There are even video games that are age-based.
Check the rating and detailed information that talks about the contents of the game, violence level, topics, and language before you buy so that you don’t expose your child to games that are inappropriate for them.
2. Increases risks of addictions
The WHO has listed “gaming disorder” in its international classification of disease.
Video games for kids can be addictive because dopamine is released into your children’s bodies while they are playing it. This neurochemical gives them a feeling of pressure and tells their brain to do it again.
In fact, video games are designed to be addictive. This is their company’s secret. Some designers can control behaviors by providing stimulus and rewards at strategic places and times.
Children who have a hard time fitting in or kids with poor impulse control are most vulnerable to getting addicted to video games. These kids find that video games easily fill the void created when real-world relationships are difficult to form.
3. Social replacement
Control how long your child spends playing video games so that it won’t replace or affect other areas of his/her life negatively.
If your child is already addicted, you can see a pediatrician or a therapist.
Signs And Symptoms Of Video Game Abuse In Kids
- Increased anxiety
- Loss of interest in other activities
- Neglect of hygiene
- Anger or irritability when not playing video games
- All their free time is used to play games
- Feeling fatigued and not sleeping enough
- Bad grades and loss of interest in studies
How To Use Video Games For Good
Always remember that even though video games have a lot of advantages, they also have disadvantages, so you should try and ensure that your children spend less time playing and more time studying, sleeping, exercising, socializing, helping with house chores, and going on errands.
You can have a timetable for your children where they see what they are to do daily and the time (minutes/hours) allocated for each task.
Tasks that should be involved in your child’s daily timetable are:
- House chores
- Homework/school assignments
- Meditation and mindfulness practice
- Arts and crafts (weekend activity)
- Studying (Give your child a book with a deadline on when to finish, a good place to start is money books for kids).
Then include video games for kids 2 or 3 times a week. You also set a screen time that is agreed upon mutually. Screen time includes all the time spent on computer games, mobile phones and games, and other screens (TV) and even those spent playing video games at a friend’s place.
This balanced lifestyle will reduce the negative impacts of video games and help your kid benefit from the positive side.
On weekends, holidays, or periods when your kids are complaining of boredom, you can engage them in crafts, outdoor activities, or have a wonderful family time together. You can play the “would you rather” game for kids.
Go for more educational games for your kids than casual games.
Another way to effectively control how long your child spends on video games is to make it a reward system. You allow your child to play video games after they have finished their homework, house chores, or any task assigned to them.
You can encourage physical activity in your children by giving them an extra 10 to 15 minutes to play video games on weekends if they spend 30 minutes exercising.
Don’t allow gaming at night, all electronic devices should be kept away from your child’s room at night.
The Best Video Games For Kids
1. Among us
This mobile manipulation game was released in 2018 but made its major hits in 2020 and during the lockdown.
It helps children socialize and also has a little entertaining tension.
This game is a multiplayer game in which your kid and his/her friends play as crew members on a spaceship. They are to complete various jobs but one player is tasked with a secret task of taking out the others.
The other players (victims) are to see through the lies before it is too late. This game makes paranoia a party. Among us is free at the Apple app store.
2. Animal crossing: New horizons
This cool and interesting game allows children to enjoy a peaceful island that is full of charming animal neighbors that they befriend and they also have to make home décor.
Kids who have a hard time reading or paying attention may not like this game. However, it also passes valuable lessons as the fluctuating prices of turnips will teach them not to trust the stock market, lol.
3. Crossy road
This interesting video game for kids is an endless take of a frogger who tasks your kid with making a chicken cross stylized road.
This game is totally free even if your child plays it a million times. You can get it at the Apple app store.
This gorgeous game shows hand-drawn 1930s cartoon visuals and this captivates children’s attention once they lay their eyes on it.
Kids will find this run-and-gun sidescroller hard and interesting. Adult video games are difficult but most of them are not as hard as this up to half.
This game is suitable for kids aged 10 and upwards and the platforms are Windows 10, Mac OS, Xbox One, and Nintendo switch. This game isn’t free, it costs $15 on Humble Bundle.
Every kid who loves video games must have played Fortnite matches several times. This free battle game is one of the biggest things in gaming, teens love it so much.
Fortnite inspires many memes, dances, and crossovers with big brands like Star Wars and Marvel. In the end, everyone descends from the battle bus.
Fortnite is free at Epic Games.
6. Forza Horizon 4
Kids who are automobile enthusiasts will find this game thrilling. It is a realistic and high technical racing game, casual drivers might find this boring.
In playing this video game, your child has to drive across huge and beautiful maps competing in various racing events. Forza Horizon 4’s beautiful English countryside changes with the season.
This game costs $42 at the Microsoft store.
7. Kirby star allies
Kirby stands out of all Nintendo games because he is the cutest and the most accessible. He has the ability to float through the sky and players don’t have to deal with tricky jumps.
This gentle and fun game in candy-colored worlds full of wacky powers will keep kids engaged. The main aim of the Kirby star allies is to recruit enemies as friends.
This game just shows that we can all get along. Kirby costs $58 at Amazon.
8. Mario kart live: Home circuit
This game is the futuristic combination of video games and toys that old school players only dreamt of when they were kids.
You can construct your own courses in your actual home. Then your kid uses the Nintendo switch to race a physical Mario kart through the turns, augmented reality traps, and twists.
Every kid will love this game and it costs $100 at GameStop.
9. Marvel’s spider man: Miles Morales
Arkham games have proven that it is possible to turn a famous comic book superhero into a star in a great modern video game. But like other games, like the Dark knight himself, these games gradually become so gritty that they become inappropriate for kids.
However, teens can still play this game. The good thing about the Spider Man: Miles Morales is that it builds off the first game’s fantastic foundation and adds the next-gen visuals, a wonderfully relatable hero, and new powers.
This game is full of colorful characters and crimes your kid has to stop. Some players even feel that the storytelling rivals the recent live-action movies.
This game sells for $40 on Amazon.
The popularity of Minecraft among kids will make you forget that this game is more than a decade old. In this game, you build blocks and outrun creepers on every kind of computer and game console.
Minecraft sells for $30 at Amazon.
Educational Video Games For Kids
1. Where on Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego?
This interesting video game will teach your child countries of the world and their capitals, the locations of historic events, and other geographical lessons.
In this game, the players use a magnifying glass to interview witnesses in different parts and cities of the world and gather clues. You click the airplane icon to fly to the next city when you’ve figured out the next step.
You can play this game on iOS, Android, and web browser.
2. The Oregon trail
This educational video game for kids will teach your child critical thinking, problem-solving skills, medicine/first aid, historical events, and many more.
In this game, your child tries to get his/her digital wagon 2,000 miles west to safety. But before they start the trip, your child has to pick a job (each has its unique benefits), purchase supplies, and name their companions.
In a recent update of this game, players can trade, upgrade their wagons, and buy food and medicine to increase their group’s chances of survival.
On the trip, your group members will cross rivers, encounter illnesses, highway bandits, hunt for food, and encounter many complications.
The situations in this game are a bit dramatic but it will teach your child how to learn fast about planning, quick decision-making skills, and making choices with the long-term effect in mind.
If you want the newer mobile experience, get it here for iOS devices.
3. Nancy Drew interactive mysteries
This interactive game will teach your child important figures, foreign cultures, customs and languages, historical events, problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and many more.
It is based on Nancy Drew books and this point-and-click game allows you to act as Nancy Drew. You are to solve a mystery as she would.
Your child can choose to play as a junior or senior detective, he/she will question suspects, solve puzzles, discover clues, and find their way out of multiple sticky situations to catch the culprit.
This game teaches children a lot of things without them knowing it.
There are 33 games of Nancy Drew for PC, mobile, and some gaming consoles.
This simple but interesting game teaches children vocabulary.
Kids who are fans of words with friends and scrabble (either the app or board game) will be interested in wordscapes.
This game gives children unlimited tries to solve crossword-style puzzles (they will get a few free hints). Wordscapes challenges kids on some levels by stopping 3 letter words and it gives extra points if you can get all the words in a certain order.
The hardest part of this game is guessing all the “easy” words. Then if your kid learns a new word, Wordscapes has a built-in dictionary so that they can add it to their vocabulary.
This interesting video game for kids will teach your child patterns, logic, problem-solving skills, and data analysis.
90s kids may remember this game, it kept lots of them busy in the afternoons.
The little blue critters in this game were the original minions but they are far less annoying, lol.
In this game, your child guides the little blue critters (zoombinis) out of the evil bloats’ clutches and takes them home to Zoombiniville.
It has 12 levels that progressively get more challenging. Your child has to use pattern identification and logic to win the game.
6. National Geographic Challenge
Kids will learn geography, historical events, and historical figures by playing this game.
This is a challenging quiz game divided into regions like Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.
4 players are needed to play this game and they choose an avatar. Then your group tries to answer 40, 60, or 80 of the timed questions on the game.
7. The little big planet series
This game teaches children how to design, problem-solving skills, spatial orientation skills, and logic.
The little big planet is a spunky little game that follows the adventures of Sackboy and his friends. This game is in series and the first 2 series are all about jumping and avoiding obstacles to make it to the next level.
Players can even create their own levels, build complex contraptions, and customize characters in a level.
Then players can also share their creations on the PlayStation Network but it is optional.
8. World rescue
This game was developed by ZU Digital with the help of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. It teaches children activism, healthy living, conservation, global problems, sustainability, and Geography.
The game levels are set in Kenya, Norway, Brazil, India, and China.
Your kid wins by helping five heroes solve problems like deforestation, disease, pollution, drought, and displacement. It gives kids lessons on real-world issues.
This game teaches your children basic trigonometry, angles, and critical thinking.
Your kids learn while playing without them knowing. This visually beautiful musical puzzle game teases children’s brains without stressing them out.
Once they get to the right spot, they tap the red speaker and the music starts. The goal of the game is to bounce the sound waves off the spirit and hit the spiral icon.
10. Valiant hearts: The great war
This game teaches children the emotional and historical impact of World War 1, the logic, cause and effect, and contextual puzzles.
It is a mature game and might be suitable for teenagers. Valiant Hearts: The Great War was inspired by real letters during WW1.
This story-driven war game is centered around 5 characters, Emile, Freddy, Karl, Anna, and Walt, the medic dog.
The group helps a young German Soldier find his loved ones. Each character interacts with objects and they have a special tool they use for tasks.
Walt the medic dog has a few tricks to help during the game.
From reading this post, you have already known the advantages and disadvantages of video games for kids, how to make them benefit from it, and the best video games to get for your children.