In the past – and now, to some extent in some households – video games were considered to be a waste of time at best, and dangerous at worst, causing good children to fall into bad ways. This is not the case, of course, and many factors can cause a child to misbehave; if you want to know more, you can read more about juvenile delinquency here.
Growing up I would play on my Atari with my family. My parents even had a challenge going on trying to see who was the best at playing Asteroids, a popular game back in the day. They even had a running tally pinned to the corkboard on the inside of our basement door!
Video games – particularly ones in which the child is participating with a parent, can actually be extremely beneficial for both adult and child. Read on to find out what this is, and to see if you could benefit from trying them out a little more.
Video Games Improve Critical Thinking
When playing video games, the gamer – adult or child – has to constantly think about their next move and what consequences will result from their actions for their success in the game. They need to develop a strategy, in other words, that will help them to win. This means they have to take an active part in the decision-making that will take them to the next level or help them to complete a specific task.
Compare this to TV where the child is only watching and not engaging or participating, and you can see that gaming could have plenty of advantages.
More than this, though, this kind of critical thinking is great for the child for all kinds of reasons. They will be able to make better decisions regarding their schoolwork, for example, and they will be able to develop strategies to help them throughout their life.
When you are playing with them, you can see this critical thinking develop. You can then use this information to engage with them away from the games, perhaps through chores that need their attention in the home, or when they are doing their homework.
Better Social Interaction
For some parents, the main concern over video games is that it means their child is sitting alone for many hours at a time, without any interaction. Although this can happen, and although some games do encourage this because they are made for one-player, there are many available that require two players, or that can become two-player games if needed. This makes the entire gaming experience into a much more social one.
You might even choose to have family video game nights, for example, wherein everyone gets to play and compete against one another. Or you might simply step in from time to time so that your child has someone to interact with. However you do it, these video games can certainly help encourage better social interaction, which will give your child more confidence and help them to be more successful.
A Bonding Experience
It’s good to spend time with your children, and the more time you can spend with them, the closer you will be. This is even more true if you have taken the time to understand more about something they enjoy, or if you actually both enjoy doing the same things.
Video games can be an ideal bonding experience. Anyone can play them, so even if you have mobility issues and you can’t go out too much, or if you’re extremely busy at work, or anything else, finding the time to play video games is much easier than many other different hobbies.
Playing video games with your child if they love to do it will mean a great deal to them, even if they don’t necessarily come right out and say it. Looking back, those game playing times will give them some wonderful, fond memories of their childhood, which is crucial for adult happiness as well. Plus, you might just find that you do like playing the games once you give them a try; they are made to be entertaining, after all.
It Could Be Their Ultimate Career
If your child is showing a particular like for something, and especially if they are showing skill or talent in that area, it would be a shame if a parent were to crush that skill or liking. As adults we are allowed to do what we want; if we like something, we can turn it into a hobby or even a career. Why can’t children be allowed the same freedom (with some restrictions for safety, of course)?
Creating video games is a hugely exciting career and one that pays well too. If your child is showing any talent in this area, then it should be encouraged more than dissuaded. If you play with your child, you can determine how interested they really are and maybe even help to find them camps and courses that will feed into their skills.