There’s no question that kids love all things video games, but are esports good for kids?
Yes, they are!
Experts agree that the benefits of esports are varied and growing along with this exciting field.
On top of thrilling competitions, the opportunity to capitalize on a favorite hobby, and joining amazing gaming communities worldwide, kids can learn and grow through esports.
It’s no secret that video games are beneficial in all kinds of ways, and even young players can enjoy the educational benefits of Minecraft and Roblox - just to name a few, so let’s take a look at how kids can take advantage of stepping into the esports arena!
From getting a foot in the door at prestigious gaming companies to increased cognitive acuity and coordination, kids and teens can enjoy the benefits of esports while expanding their repertoire of tech skills and exploring potential careers.
(Research into this field is still relatively new, so with time, this list is sure to expand like the billion dollar industry esports has become.)
If you’re wondering how esports can help build life skills, here’s a great example to start with: teamwork and communication are key to success at a high level. You know, like on any sports team!
Yes, the best of the best esports teams practice and develop complementary skill sets dedicated to maximizing each player’s potential. Though individual esports is definitely out there, the team element is not to be overlooked or underestimated.
Educators around the country are starting to take notice of the collaborative potential of gaming. Plus, kids can look at it as a leadership activity and learn sportsmanship outside the traditional setting of a court, track, or field, and reap the benefits in an area of authentic interest to them.
College scholarship opportunities
Millions of dollars of scholarships, to be specific.
Not only are there 175 colleges that have varsity esports programs (something that was virtually unheard of just a few years ago), kids can actually earn a degree in esports.
Colleges around the country are expanding their offerings in part to keep up with the skyrocketing popularity of esports, and it’s one of many avenues to pursue higher education in fields like game design and programming.
Increased coordination and dexterity
Like most of the research out there about gaming, there are pros and cons for all players to weigh. Studies do show, however, that playing in esports leagues can increase manual dexterity, undoubtedly a plus in our digital age.
Research further indicates the complex coordination necessary to compete at a high level. Esports can improve kids’ hand-eye coordination skills, and as a lifelong clumsy person, I can honestly say that perhaps playing more video games as a child may have helped.
Lucrative career paths
Budding designers, gamers, influencers and engineers rejoice! There are plenty of professional applications of awesome gaming skills.
By truly understanding the ins and outs of some of the most popular games out there, kids gain a valuable understanding of how to design and potentially market new products—something major companies like EA, Nintendo, and Microsoft truly value.
(What is a game designer, exactly?)
From game testers to QA engineers and graphic artists, esports is a launchpad for some of the most dynamic careers in the booming, $35 billion gaming industry.
Improved brain function
That’s right! And if you think about it, it makes sense: video games can be like a mental workout, and many brain functions are like muscles. Practice makes perfect.
One study found that players of Super Mario increased their brain’s grey matter, a key ingredient in cognitive function and memory retention. Further research has delved into the beneficial potential of gaming on specific areas of the brain and its potential to sharpen problem-solving skills.
While scientists agree that further research is needed to fully understand the cognitive impacts of gaming, especially at a competitive level, initial findings are encouraging!
Enriches school communities
A key lesson learned from a year of virtual learning is that kids need peer connections in order to thrive. And while traditional K-12 environments often offer enrichment activities in sports and the arts, there is a lot of room to grow in the STEM field!
The state of STEM education in today still reflects a lack of opportunities to build key digital literacy skills at a young age. Computer science remains the fastest-growing field within the STEM family, and kids need both opportunity and an engaging means of building their tech skills.
What better way to get started than with esports? In addition to all of the benefits of working with and practicing in teams, there are a number of esports tournaments and other STEM competitions open to kids that offer excellent motivation (and often seriously cool prizes).
Not all parents speak “gamer,” and it can be challenging to know exactly how kids are connecting online at home, so esports school clubs are an excellent means of cultivating gaming skills in a safe, supportive environment.
We see firsthand at iD Tech how powerful it is for kids to connect with peers who share their passions and interests, and by bringing an esports club to your child’s school, those connection opportunities can grow!
Leads to a love of STEM
Strategic thinking? Check. Creative problem-solving under pressure? 100%.
If these skills sound transferable, it’s because they absolutely are. You’ll find that they are essential today’s most exciting and in-demand tech careers. Not only is esports worth practicing in and of itself, the field intersects with other fascinating areas of STEM.
Perhaps a love of game art inspires your child to create their own, or the statistical side of esports sparks an interest in data science and programming. Sparking a love of all things STEM can be as simple as building on the games your child already loves.
So why wait? Esports might just be the key to unlock your child’s next tech adventure. If you agree, look into our esports summer camps, Overwatch coaching and/or our new Rocket League courses