Video games have always had a reputation for having negative effects on a child’s development, especially in the context of school. While stereotypes like these aren’t completely false, the advantages of using video games to our children’s benefit, specifically in education, are often overlooked. Social, emotional, and motivational benefits are to be had besides the mathematical, scientific, strategic, and artistic benefits that specific video games can offer.
Video Games are Engaging
So, how do children learn from video games? For one, video games have something about them that captures the child’s attention — it is inherently interactive. This can mean that the child sets the pace of the game or can determine how he will tackle the task required for the levels. Capturing the child’s attention is essential in getting him to learn a lesson, of course.
Video Games Can Teach Non-Academic Values
Playing video games can also teach children values such as perseverance, creativity, and cooperation that can be helpful in learning more technical lessons. Failing levels in video games will teach the child to be persistent in tackling tasks and will teach him the value of trying again when he doesn’t succeed at first. Creativity can be learned from games that gives the player freedom to figure out their own method in solving any given task. While cooperation can be learned in games where players can connect with friends online to tackle challenges.
Further expounding on how video games can help children be more cooperative, playing with others can also help them be more social. In playing popular games, it may help build social skills because video games can bridge players — it can be a place where they come together to bond, an avenue to develop stronger friendships with people from different backgrounds. This may ultimately expand their worldview by interacting with fellow students from different backgrounds.
Video Games Can Make Highly Technical Subjects Easier to Practice
Finally, video games make some technical subjects such as mathematics more palatable for students. Games such as Tami’s Tower, Prodigy, and Gravity Simulator make learning math more entertaining and accessible, so students can opt to play and learn in their spare time, making them more productive.
In the end, as with all things, it is up to us how we will use video games to our advantage. We can see video games as a distraction for our children or we can recognize its value as a tool in facilitating their education as a way to supplement their current curricular programs. The perpetual presence of video games in today’s culture is a cue for us to decide to use it to our benefit, the key is to integrate it into our children’s lives in a balanced way.