Today’s world demands that we be able to accomplish multiple tasks in a short span of time, often with the use of a single tool such as our PC or a smart device. Tomorrow’s world will demand it more, making it doubly important that children learn a task-based approach and can be flexible in managing and prioritizing these tasks.
Research has repeatedly indicated that action video game players develop these task-performing abilities in an increased capacity when compared to those who do not partake in action video gameplay. Other traits associated with modern video gameplay involve superior self-control, enhanced academic performance, better student relationship building, and superior social skills. This is due, in a significant part, to the collaborative nature of video games.
Is Gaming Good or Bad?
Increasingly, video games are being viewed by young gamers not as an isolated activity, but rather as a time to socialize and bond with their friends. The challenges, fun, and excitement elicited by video games are received with delight by children who enjoy video games, but parental concerns begin to factor into the amount of video games that children play and what other effects it has on them. For instance, parents worry that video games teach their children to be more violent or to grow desensitized to violent acts. It is also a source of frustration as an immersed child can lose track of time and delay themselves from a normal operating schedule, leading to the neglect of certain important activities or responsibilities.
These parental concerns are not unwarranted, but only in situations where video gameplay results in children avoiding or neglecting more pressing aspects of their academic life such as their schoolwork or homework assignments. Many parents cannot grasp that video gameplay is currently a normal part of children's play, believing that games are just consumed for the purposes of fun, and negatively impact their children's development. This often creates conflict between parents who may have different opinions on video games.
Research from PISA has found, however, that moderate and time-conscious gameplay by youngsters not only has little to no negative effects but can, in fact, be more of a positive aspect of children’s development depending on when and how children engage in these games. They have been shown to promote spatial and visual skills, and have even been used as a way to help dyslexic children adjust their reading abilities. Video games have also been linked to bolstering childrens’ interest and love for learning history attained through reading about and researching the worlds their gameplay is engaged in.
Studies have even shown health benefits in video gameplay. Video games often require physical maneuverability through requirement game movements, even in children who are sedentary while playing. Video games have been shown to promote critical thinking, concentration, focus, avoidance of distractions, attention, memory, and other pivotal cognitive aspects of human development. Those who engage in at least an hour of gaming per day have been shown (in studies) to be able to develop deeper focus skills and concentration.
Those who engage in at least 3 daily gaming hours over a two-week span were found to have grown in terms of cognitive prowess, concentration, attention to details, and experienced superior spatial skill development. There is even research to indicate that children with ADHD and autism can benefit in the educational sphere by being able to concentrate better in class with video gaming as the prescribed treatment.
Gaming as a Teaching Tool
Appended with the enhancement of understanding, learning, and deeper enhancement of essential skills like biology, coding, and mathematics, they have certainly illustrated themselves to be a superb contributor to skill development that will serve children well in their attempt to succeed in not just a K through 12 education, but also in their college careers.
Besides being a great teaching tool, one that educators are starting to use more extensively, especially considering that most kids play video games, video games have been shown to condition kids’ confidence, self-esteem, and healthy development of social interactions with others (peers and adults).
However, the health-promoting benefits are not limited to children. A recently published study by cognitive researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, linked gaming to a reduced likelihood of developing dementia. Adults who played games since they were children were found to have better working memory. This indicates that video gaming actually carries both short and long-term cognitive benefits, as well as healthier emotional acumen.