With the schools on full term break and the monsoons in full swing here in Mumbai forcing the kids to stay indoors mostly, many of us parents worry about how much time they end up spending on video games. Whilst anything in excess is not good, this article shows it isn’t a sound idea to blanket ban video games for kids either. The article cites research which has shown significant cognitive benefits for kids from gaming.
“When you keep an eye on your enemies, grab the best loot and change your inventory without even looking at the controller, you are essentially flexing your brain. Your brain loves challenges like this – and can actually grow from playing video games. It is one reason why video game players make better surgeons and why some doctors even use video games to warm up before big surgeries.
Video games can develop other skills, too. For example, they can teach you to never give up, no matter how many times it takes to beat the final boss or reach the next level. The persistence you use in video games shows that hard work will help you achieve your goals, both inside and outside the video game.
To succeed in video games, you can’t just work harder; you have to work smarter, too. Beating the final boss or another really good player is not as simple as using the same strategy over and over again. Instead, video games train you to solve problems by considering and trying different solutions.
Think about your favorite games. They give you lots of different problems with multiple solutions, which makes you realize solving problems can be really fun. Playing video games can teach you critical thinking skills that, combined with hard work, will bring you a lot of success.
One of the very best things about playing video games is the friends – not just the new friends you make, but hanging out with your old friends, especially during times when you may not be able to see them at school or at their house. Video games provide friends a digital playground where helping and sharing is encouraged and often required. Helping each other build the biggest and best fort – or reviving a teammate when they’re down – strengthens friendships and can even help mend broken ones.
That’s because, even if it’s “just a game,” teammates who help each other in video games are more likely to help each other in the real world and be more helpful toward strangers, too. Experiencing the benefits of being a team player teaches you the value of teamwork, which is something you can use for the rest of your life. If, however, you use video games to be mean to others – or let mean video game players stick around – you’ll miss out on most of these benefits.”

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