Today I have a really well-written guest post for you from Scott at HomeLeisureDirect. It is all about how gaming can benefit your child, from his own personal perspective. It is well worth a read as it will teach you a lot of things about gaming that I bet you haven’t thought of before. As a home-educating Mum, I am of the opinion that children can learn through all sorts of activities- not just by studying text books! Reading through this article has really highlighted the importance of allowing your children the opportunity to spend some time gaming, if they so wish, after all ,gaming is not all bad … It has some great advantages! – As you’ll see from reading this guest post:-
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10 Ways Gaming Can Benefit Your Child by HomeLeisureDirect.com
Gaming as we know it today has rapidly developed. No longer do you see children outside playing street games or playing in the park. I personally experienced the change and was part of it. In my younger years, I was a very outgoing kid. I played all the games and all the sports. Developed great friendships and loved the summers! Me and my friends would go cycling for hours or try and build the world’s best go kart, it was exciting. Then it all started to change. The change happened in my early teens, Xbox 360 and the PS3 were released and the new wave of gaming began, this is where kids transferred from offline to online. I started playing games online every day, we based our weekends around playing online against people and every other teen joined in. I didn’t see it as a bad thing though. I developed new friendships and still played sports, I just loved gaming. In this article I’m going to go through the 10 benefits of gaming.
1) Reduce Stress & Depression
As you all know, a kid going through their teens is the most stressful part of their life. They think a spot is the end of the world and if they don’t get a certain game or clothing, their world comes crumbling down. Hormonal changes are at their peak and it’s hard to be stress free.
Gaming has been shown to reduce stress in call centre workers who played a single game during work. The stress reducing was 17%! This was from a single game played once a day. A video game can be an escape for someone, they can have a new identity and build themselves up. They can progress and be the best at something. Not only does this reduce stress but it can increase their confidence. Every kid loves progression in games, it’s what keeps them gaming! Making sure they have this feeling of accomplishment after doing school work is vital.
Furthermore, 44% of teenagers who played SPARX, a cognitive behavioural therapy game recovered completely. This is an incredible stat. A singular game had the power to transform how someones mind worked and thought. Playing strategic games and making them fun can have as much of a positive affect as this.
It’s important to note that gaming is not evil, reducing stress alone is a reason why you should let your kid play games and with the added advantage of being able to reduce depression, it’s a key area to look into in your child’s life.
2) Develops problem solving skills and strategic thinking
A study showed that playing games for 30 minutes a day for 2 months positively affects the following:
– strategic planning
– memory formation
– spatial navigation
– hand motor skills
The above study is specific to video games. You may think that gaming damages eye sight but studies show that in actual fact high action games improve contrast sensitivity, meaning better eyes sight. I can confidently say I have first hand experience of gaming improving my strategic thinking. I used to play games such as Zelda and Elders Scrolls which requires you to “free roam”, find quests and find the answers. It meant you had to think on your own about how to complete tasks. I remember spending days on some tasks, days! It made me really think and I loved it. Mathematics results at school? A. I’m not saying just because I gamed it caused me to have A’s but I strongly believe it aided in my problem solving skills.
3) Improves Perception And Reaction Skills
Your cognitive skills can shoot through the roof if you put your gaming skills to good use. An active gamer needs to ensure he/she has a very sharp memory and can react to things quickly. It then transfers to real life situations, playing games has been proven to sharpen your perceptive skills.
4) improves Visual Attention
Playing video games consistently can help improve visual attention. Sharpening your eyesight on the enemy on the screen, making sure your hand-eye coordination skills are on point. All these little things help you improve your visual attention to things. This has been shown to directly improve soldiers training for military service and jobs that require steady hand movement, such as operating doctors and artists.
5) Inspire Interest in History And Culture
How many times have you seen a TV show (Game Of Thrones) a film (300) or an investigation film/show and immediately gone online to research the topic? I guarantee all of you have done something similar. When you become interested into something you want more. You watch videos, read articles and learn. A perfect example is when I first saw the film 300. I immediately went online to research Spartans which led me to read about the Romans. I learned more about Roman history in my weekly read that stemmed from 300 than I ever did at school. I believe getting your child to catch an interest by making them do/watch something fun is important. Once they like what they play or watch, they want to learn more. Gaming and watching relevant films/shows should be incorporated into a child’s life, not restricted from it like we see in many cases today.
6) Make Friends
Ever heard your child shout and/or chat to friends over his xbox headset? Ever seen your child train with his friend in football/rugby? Ever seen your child want to improve and get better at a certain game, such as ping pong or tennis with his friends? Gaming in the wider sense, not limited to video is important for developing friendships. I made countless friends online and met with them in school, I also made lifelong friends playing rugby with the boys. Playing games has made me the person I am today, both physical and virtual. Just because your child wants to play online doesn’t mean they aren’t socialising. He/she is socialising more than ever, group chats, Skype and conquering other teams or levels using team work!
7) Video Games Encourage Exercise
I have a perfect example of how a video game got me into a sport I never would have tried. This sport was skateboarding. I played Tony Hawks Underground 2 and got hooked. I loved building up my character and making him better at skating. I then bought my own skateboard, got a group of friends to as well and we all started skating all summer. We built ramps in some empty park and we loved it. I met a lot of new friends doing this too.
Furthermore, studies show that playing realistic sport video games encourages children to go out and try the sport. If you really don’t want your child playing video games just give him a sports game. You may be surprised, they may end up being the next big sports star!
Games such as table tennis can burn around 350 calories an hour as a beginner. Once you improve and the speed of the game increases you can also expect to burn more calories. Simply buying a table tennis table can help your kids stay active, improve at a sport and help mental focus.
8) Compete To Win
Playing to win is always something I’ve done. I believe in taking part in everything and having fun, but winning is great. Games make kids want to win, it make them competitive. Competition is a great way of pushing yourself to new limits in both academia, sports and games. Let your children be competitive and it will transfer into other key areas of their life, such as education and building a career.
9) They Are Fun!
Let’s not miss out maybe the most important point. Gaming is fun! Pinball machines are fun, table tennis is fun, video games are fun. Making sure your child is happy is what’s important. Development of education is important and the only way children will want to self improve is if they are having fun. Depression is a growing concern in young children, making sure they have fun with friends and doing what they feel like doing is key to progress. Note down all the points in this article and see if it applies to your child. Join in and play! You will soon see how your child learns and problem solves in front of you.
10) Games Are Great For Families
Why do most families only ever play games at Christmas? Have you noticed most family members say they had a lot of fun? Why not keep gaming? Get a table tennis table, pinball machine, pool table or video games console. Make a day/night of it and it will bring your family together. Everyone loves games, it doesn’t have to be a boring board game either!
Gaming is part of a child’s life. Embrace it and make the most of the benefits of gaming. Make sure everything is done in moderation. Video gaming 40 hours+ a week may not be a good idea, incorporate games that use physical activity and make a ‘Games Day’ to get other family members involved. Knowing the facts about gaming can make you a responsible parent when it comes to games. No more listening to scaremongering on the radio, you have the facts here. Use them and enjoy your time gaming with your kids!