There’s no doubt about it: gaming is here to stay. And there’s no need to fight it! Gaming can be good for you, and is the perfect opportunity to teach your child valuable skills that will resonate and stick with them for life!
Today’s world is inundated with information from all kinds of sources. Being able to sift through the available data, identify meaningful points, and apply sound reasoning is an invaluable skill.
While many types of games provide the opportunity to build this skill, in puzzle-solving games like Portal players are presented with complex challenges that require them to analyze their surroundings, identify patterns, and devise logical solutions.
By engaging in these activities, gamers learn to think critically, anticipate consequences, and apply deductive reasoning to overcome obstacles.
This ability to analyze information and make logical decisions translates well into real-life scenarios, such as problem-solving at work or evaluating different options when making important decisions (more on this below).
The gaming world provides metrics and history that your child can use to study and improve. Without even realizing it they will be practicing critical thinking that can apply to so many facets of life.
When your child reaches the next level in their favorite game, it’s not by luck. There is endless logic and creativity that goes into those solutions.
In strategy games like Civilization, players are challenged with complex scenarios where they must make decisions that impact their civilization's growth and success. They need to assess available resources, consider diplomatic relationships, plan military strategies, and manage various factors to achieve their goals.
This constant problem-solving hones their ability to think critically, evaluate multiple options, and adapt their strategies based on changing circumstances. Where these problem-solving skills acquired through gaming can be applied to real-life situations include finding creative solutions to challenges at school or devising strategies to overcome obstacles in personal or professional endeavors.
BONUS: It's worth mentioning that while reasoning and problem-solving are interconnected, there is a subtle distinction between the two.
Reasoning is the skill of analyzing information, drawing logical conclusions, and making meaningful connections based on data at hand. It encompasses critical thinking and logical reasoning, coupled with an ability to assess multiple viewpoints.
On the other hand, problem-solving involves applying reasoning skills to overcome specific challenges or obstacles. It requires identifying problems, generating possible solutions, evaluating their effectiveness, and implementing the best course of action.
Essentially, reasoning forms the bedrock of problem-solving. By enabling analytical and logical thinking, individuals can hone their ability to weigh evidence, reach calculated decisions, and find novel solutions to complex problems in daily life. When put into action, these reasoning skills allow people to achieve their goals and tackle the most pressing issues with confidence, creativity, and clarity of thought.
So, back to gaming, most games are like puzzles, during which your child must analyze each small piece in order to put the whole picture together. And the more kids are faced with problems to solve, the more their computational thinking will grow for them to apply it to real-life situations.
3. Focus and Strategy Development
Your child isn’t just glued to the screen because it’s fun—gaming takes an immense amount of focus! From remembering levels and environments to characters and maps, it takes great attention to detail to recall important images and make decisions based on memory.
In real-time strategy games like Starcraft II, players must simultaneously manage resources, build structures, train units, and engage in battles against opponents. To succeed, they need to maintain focus and manage multiple tasks efficiently. They must prioritize objectives, allocate resources effectively, anticipate enemy movements, and adapt their strategies on the fly.
This constant demand for focus and strategy development in gaming enhances their ability to concentrate for extended periods, think strategically, and make calculated decisions under pressure.
These skills can be transferred to various areas of life, such as academic pursuits that require sustained focus, or professional settings where strategic planning and decision-making are crucial for success.
By leveraging their honed focus and strategy development skills from gaming, your child can excel in tasks that demand concentration, critical thinking, and planning, both in virtual worlds and real-life endeavors.
4. Hand-eye Coordination
One big reason many consider video games to be a sport is the correlation between hours spent gaming and improved sensory motor skills. While sitting in their favorite gaming spot might not seem like it would be full of skill building, the fast-twitch muscles required to make split-second, in-game decisions are the building blocks for hand-eye coordination.
Sport and action games like FIFA and Call of Duty, respectively, demand quick reflexes and precise hand-eye coordination. Players must react swiftly to on-screen events, accurately aim at targets, and execute precise movements to control their in-game characters or manipulate virtual objects.
The repeated actions of navigating complex virtual environments, aiming at moving targets, and performing intricate maneuvers enhance hand-eye coordination.
This improved hand-eye coordination gained from gaming can have practical applications in various real-life scenarios. For example, activities like playing musical instruments, participating in sports, or engaging in tasks that require manual dexterity and precise movements, such as cooking or performing surgical procedures, all benefit from well-developed hand-eye coordination.
Gaming can provide a fun and engaging way for your child to sharpen their motor skills, which can prove invaluable in both their hobbies and daily life activities.
By acknowledging and embracing the hand-eye coordination skills cultivated through gaming, your child can leverage them to excel in physical and practical endeavors outside of the virtual realm.
5. Social Skills
Last, online communities are a great way for your child to meet like-minded peers. Kids are no longer limited to school and sports when it comes to finding their crew.
Multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft and Minecraft provide platforms where players can interact and collaborate with others from around the world. These virtual communities offer opportunities for your child to develop and enhance their social skills. Through in-game chat, voice communication, and cooperative gameplay, they can practice effective communication, teamwork, and problem-solving with their peers.
Collaborating with others in online games requires coordination, understanding different perspectives, and resolving conflicts. It fosters skills such as active listening, empathy, patience, and the ability to work towards a shared objective.
Additionally, participating in online communities exposes your child to diverse cultures, backgrounds, and ideas, promoting a sense of inclusivity and broadening their worldview.
These social skills gained from gaming can have a positive impact on your child's real-life interactions. They can transfer the ability to communicate effectively, work as part of a team, and navigate social dynamics to various aspects of their lives, including school projects, extracurricular activities, and future professional endeavors.
Encouraging your child to engage in multiplayer gaming and leveraging the social opportunities it provides can help them develop strong social skills and build meaningful connections with a global community of like-minded individuals.