Video games will rot your brain! This is something that many parents would say in the 80’s and 90’s and maybe some still do to this day. However, there are many benefits to a child playing video games and today we are looking at some of the reasons why your child being a gamer is a good thing.
Video Games Help with Reading
Video games are not just all about shooting and killing things! When they are playing a game, a child at some point is going to have to read something. Be it instructions on what to do or something in relation to the story. Video games have far more text in them than people realize and they can go a long way toward helping a child read. If it was not for a game called The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword then my middle child would not have developed an interest in reading like he did. This is because the game has no voice acting it was all text and he really wanted to be able to read the story himself.
Video Games Teach Problem Solving Skills
Now granted there are many video games that are there for people to turn their brains off and just shoot things. For the most part, though video games require a lot of problems solving skills and for your child to think about what they are going to do. How do I get that key? How do I open that door? Is it possible to make that jump? When playing video games a million things will be running through your child’s brain and they will have to learn to focus on the problem that is at hand.
Video Games Develop Hand-Eye Coordination
Video games require far more skill than many people realize. Playing a video game requires a lot of thought and a controller these days has at least eight buttons to worry about. This means that your child is going to have to think and act fast. Not only that they most of the time will not even be looking at the controller and just reacting to what is happening on screen. Hand-eye coordination is something that is crucial for gaming and if your child is a gamer then they will have fantastic hand-eye coordination.
Video Games Are a Great Way for a Child and Parent to Bond
People who are parents these days are of a generation that has always had video games as part of their lives. You can use this to your advantage to bond with your child. Many kids these days are all about video games. Well, you should get in there and play with them! There are many fun family games that you guys can enjoy and if you grew up playing video games, you can tell your child about the way it used to be. Heck, you can even hunt down an old Atari or Nintendo and show them the games you used to play.
The image of the kid sitting in their bedroom all alone, eating Cheetos and pounding Mountain Dew may still be the stereotype of a gamer, but this is very rarely the case. These days kids want to play with their friends. While gaming has changed a lot and not as many multiplayer games see a child play with their friend next to them. Kids though have a lot of fun chatting through their headset with their friends at school while they are gaming. Gaming teaches kids how to share, how to show humility and how to work as a team. Just make sure that if they are playing online, you are monitoring who they are playing with.
PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo?
If you are new to video games knowing what system to get your kids can be tough. One of the best ways to go about this is to ask your friends what consoles their kids play. This way your child will have the same console as their friends. All three of the main consoles the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One have a large selection of games that are aimed at families.
You may think that the Nintendo Switch is the obvious choice for younger kids as it has games like Mario Kart 8, Super Mario Odyssey and so on. It is a fantastic console and has a ton of great games. However, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are also good and as well as gaming they serve as a blu-ray player, streaming service and games console. PlayStation 4 has some great family games like Ratchet & Clank, Lego Marvel Super Heroes, Sonic Heroes and many more. Xbox One also has some awesome family game such as Sonic Team Racing, Lego Star Wars, and the Skylanders series. Each console will make your child happy. I would advise going with either what their friends have or what one you can get the best deal on.
The Negatives of Video Games
I would be lying if I said that video games were all sunshine and rainbows. There are of course some negatives that go with video games like there is with any hobby and here are a few of the main ones to watch for.
Addiction: I think that there is a huge difference between being addicted to a video game and just wanting to spend a couple of hours playing it. Still, if you have heard of the Fortnite craze and are worried about your child becoming addicted. Consoles these days do have parental controls that will allow you to set the amount of time per day they can play.
Cost: Gaming can be an expensive hobby. However, you will find that many video games (not so much the consoles) do go on clearance very quickly. Plus there is always the fact you can buy them second hand. However, the getting in price can seem a bit steep.
Sharing: While my kids love to play video games together. Video games have also been responsible for their fair share of arguments in our house. Make sure that the kids know that they have to share. This is especially true if you have a few kids who are sharing one console it can be hard, but having some kind of rota is the fairest way.