Practical advices

Can playing video games make children smarter? Fun or addiction?

It’s important to notice that the gaming industry is a big and prosperous business and video game companies actually define the way children play, probably without paying enough attention on how it affects the development of the child. In modern families, at least one parent plays video games for fun so kids are growing up in an environment where gaming is viewed as a source of fun. In this place, we must ask ourselves one important question: are video games, in general, good or bad for kids? Of course, we can’t give a unanimous answer. On the one hand, they can be good under parental supervision and when they are age-appropriate, but they are certainly not when someone gets addicted to them! Video games addiction is a serious problem because many of the most popular video games include violence which has greater impact on the young brain of children, especially for children between 12-14 years old. Therefore, keep an eye on the content of video games your child prefers.

 Positive impacts

Some people share their positive experience about video games. Some parents say they helped their children get along. Sometimes playing video games is a way in which children learn how to communicate better and spend time together.

Sometimes playing video games fosters verbal and nonverbal intelligence. Likewise, moderate television watching improves children’s reading ability. In order to win a video game, players learn to plan their actions and differ relevant from irrelevant information. Playing video games helps children improve skills like problem solving and memory (because they need to remember their previous actions). Positive effect on problem solving is largest at a moderate number of video game hours. An important thing to keep in mind is that the effects of video games depend on what other activity video games replace. Research says that if children play video games instead of watching TV, resting, shopping etc. they have positive impacts on their development. Playing video games cannot be a substitution for neither learning nor doing homework.

Children’s motivation for video game playing

People rarely ask about the reasons of children’s interest in playing video games. Finding the answers to this question can tell us more about child’s psychological needs. Playing video games is, often, associated with social needs, especially among anxious boys. Motivation for video game playing is related to basic needs such as competence and autonomy since children are only completely independent from adults when playing. For some children commitment for playing video games is associated with the need for control which they cannot have in real life. In virtual world they can be important, powerful and strong. Sense of personal value is so important that children will find it even in a virtual world.

The conclusion is next:

Playing video games can be beneficial for children between 3-8 years old, for certain purposes only and, of course, if it is moderate. On a rainy day, after school, playing games is better than doing nothing!