If you never learnt how to enjoy video games every once in a while, you might have difficulties in understanding what is it exactly that makes your kids want to play them for hours on end.
Video games simulate life in different ways, and the most popular games always cater to the most basic and classic of desires: sports, driving, fighting and building. For example the hugely popular sandbox building game, Minecraft, is basically like playing with Lego blocks or building your own treehouse in the forest. Kids love these very classic activities, and that’s why Minecraft is such a success. Plus you have monsters, treasure and fighting – so what’s not to love?
Creativity and spatial reasoning
Minecraft teaches kids creativity, geometry concepts, logical thinking and spatial reasoning skills, which is measured by one’s ability to visualize and manipulate two- and three-dimensional objects. Spatial reasoning skill is being related directly to achievements in technology, engineering, math and science.
Problem-solving skills and strategic thinking
Games that follow a story line with the player as the hero usually involve a lot of different kinds of problem-solving: your kid actually needs to search for things, negotiate, plan and think about different approaches in order to advance. Lot of role playing games also allow the player to affect who their hero actually is and how he treats other people in the game, which teaches responsibility for different actions.
Video games bring kids together
Multiplayer games teach kids how to be social and collaborate with others in achieving their own goals or a shared one. Most kids today see video games as a social activity and a big reason they are looking forward to the next gaming session is because they will be able to chat and play with their friends – no matter where those friends might be physically.
Video games are also the most common focus for conversation among young boys. Playing the most popular video games might be a great way to make new friends in real life too.
Gaming in moderation to keep a healthy balance
As you probably have already noticed, playing video games is highly addictive and without monitoring your kid might end up playing all through the day and as they get older even through the night. This kind of prolonged unsupervised and excess gaming leads to different kinds of problems as the kid grows up. Sleepless nights mess up the circadian rhythm and makes kids tired and miss out in other activities the next day, like school, homework and hobbies.
Even if your kid is learning different things by playing video games, other areas in life are just as important. Try to teach your kid how to self-regulate and stay interested in other activities in the real-world, like playing outside and using their own hands to play and build with the old fashioned Lego blocks instead of just Minecraft.
What is a good amount of video games per day?
Have a conversation with your kid about their daily duties and activities and figure out together how much gaming fits in each day. Every kid needs to learn priorities and that responsibilities like school and homework always come first.
A study by Oxford University suggests that children who play video games for up to an hour are happier, more sociable and more calm than those who don’t play at all.