Can Gaming Be Healthy for Kids?
OK, we’ve all heard it from our gamer children… “Come on! It’s actually good for me!”
As a parent, I fully support limits on screen time and being cautious when it comes to kids and technology, but I have to admit there is a kernel of truth in their proclamations.
To give my kids’ theory some cred, I’ve done some digging and indeed they were right. Gaming can be healthy. Here are the main ways that gaming can actually be good for kids:
1. Gamification of learning – There are many games out there that actually “teach” valuable life skills and habits that kids will benefit from in the real world.
Here are a few of our favorites:
MoneyPrep, an app that teaches kids essential money handling skills, video game style.
NitroType, a desktop game that teaches kids the art of keyboard typing while racing against other challengers.
2. Gaming is a way to socially connect – Kids are social beings. They learn from interaction and they need to connect to feel confident and whole. The last year and a half have been especially hard with feelings of isolation from peers. Gaming has helped kids stay connected and feel a sense of community, albeit a virtual one.
3. Stress relief – Believe it or not, kids (and adults) can relieve stress by gaming. It gives them an outlet to “just be” and to lose themselves in fun. We all need a way to de-stress sometimes and for the next generation, gaming seems to help.
4. Development benefits – Scientists are saying that video games can help people see better, learn more quickly, develop greater mental focus, become more spatially aware, estimate more accurately, and multitask more effectively. Now that’s a lot of development!
Video games and screen time are definitely something to monitor with kids, but I have opened my mind and learned through my research that there are health benefits associated with them too. There is a flip side to all the negative press games are getting. I am actually happy that my kids are learning important money management skills, practicing typing and doing math problems on their apps and tablets. Now, I am ready to say… “Game on!”