We’ve all played video games in our childhood, haven’t we? Then why is it that we get worried and become intolerant when our children spend time with their share of video games? Video games are not all bad until your kids get addicted to them. In moderation, they can be an escape for your child from daily stress (Yes! Kids get stressed too). Don’t be shocked – research suggests that video games can help children with developmental disorders!
Video Games And Social Skills
Do you remember Pokemon Go? The game that took over millions and millions of people’s hearts? In a story by a leading news agency, the mothers of children suffering from issues like Asperger’s syndrome, autism, and hyperlexia share how the game has encouraged their special children to socialize (1). Pokemon Go encouraged them to get out of their comfort zone which is usually inside the house, in order to find the pokemon. Such video games helped in boosting their confidence when they won the game or interacted with other players through the medium (2).
Dr. Peter Faustino, a school psychologist in New York told the news agency how he encourages children with Asperger’s or autism to adopt a “social hook.” This social hook will ideally help them share an experience or connection with others. As they interact more and more with the outside world through this medium, their social skill also develops. Even though things like music and sports can be used as the hook, video games like Pokemon Go has also proved its efficiency in being one.
Video Games Improve Spatial Skills
Spatial skill is the skill that helps us understand things in their three-dimensional form. Some children have difficulty with their spatial skills and research has found that video games can help them improve (3). The study noted that children with weaker spatial skills got better after playing video games over a period of time. The researchers also suggested that video games may even help equalize any skill differences.
They Help With Language And Reading Skills
When you play a video game, most of the instructions are text that you have to read. The game necessitates you to read and understand the instructions so as to take actions based on them. Your children want to get better at the game and win, so they will read the instructions with more concentration than they ever read their school books with. Also, the dialogues of the characters in the game also appear as text. Playing video games will familiarize your child with the language and improve their reading and comprehension skills (4).
Positive Impact On Numerical Ability And Problem Solving
Children with developmental issues may have weaker numerical abilities and problem-solving skills. A study that was conducted on 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade students found that their numerical ability improved after a few sessions of video games! A lot of us didn’t like mathematics in the first place when we were students. Research suggests that video games can be used as a tool to motivate children to improve their arithmetic skills and also to instruct them (5). Certain video games can also help children with developmental issues in improving their problem-solving abilities (6).
Even though there are many reasons to let your child play video games, it’s very important to find a balance. Too much of gaming can cause harm to your child’s eyes and it can also make your child addicted. While video games help children with developmental disorders to socialize, too much of it may make them want to stay at home and play all the time. Think about it- it’s fun, you don’t have to leave your comfortable space, and you don’t need to make any effort to make new friends. It’s your responsibility to encourage your child to effectively plan their time.