(1) Cortisol Levels.
Cortisol helps your body manage stress, says McGill U, a big surprise! Children have so much information coming at them; if they have a space of concentration, studies show it can be a healthy release. Furthermore, parents who are fraught in all directions may now feel less guilt over the fact that THEIR limited game-time is okay. Which leads us to:2.
(2) Schedule it in: a balance.
Time overspent in anything (food, gaming, sleep, inactivity, overthinking – ahem) and children are going to run into trouble. Relaxing for one hour or less with a game is more reasonable than full-afternoon game-a-thons every afternoon of the week.
(3) Cognitive Functioning
Feelings of competence, external reinforcement, added with increased focus, are great if the game is properly designed, and can be positive. Think of those times where people just did not ‘get’ you when you were in school, but when you read a book or created a world with legos or boxes, you felt at peace with the world. Games have the same notion, however the stationary (not climbing trees, running around, and skinning knees) aspect of them is what the usual concern is. You can do both: common sense in all things!
(4) Learn to Problem-Solve
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – imagine that games actual help in these areas, especially as children/students learn through play. Making quick, accurate decisions under pressure (brings to mind the heart-pumping racing games – I wish I could find that quote on the celebrity driver who said ‘by the time you have to think, it is too late’ – google is only bringing up ‘Am I too old to drive a race car’ responses!); processing information in critical time periods is also a way of quickening thinking. Basic CPR courses in game format, to train children on awareness and action, could perhaps be put to use in this way!
(5) Manage Anger and Stress
Video games allow you to refocus your brain on something else. In addition to the concentration mentioned above, children are also unplugging, and shifting awareness from stressful events. The same way reading a book helps you sleep before bed, a game can be a commercial-break for everything that needs to be done during the day. All digital events are not created equal (parent email stress ≠ child game time, nor does it mean that the bubble-gum-time for the brain is bad, we all need a break in the fast-paced world) Anger is the engine of sadness, so a game is a good short-term mood lifter, if used as such.
(6) Healthy Escapism
In the Great Depression of 1929, escapism became the new trend. Like positive thinking, it is not that you ignore your problems, it is that you mentally escape from downturn and divert your mind from negativity. There is a true reason we love video games!
(7) Creating Video Games is even better!
Many of you know about Scratch. And Swift Playgrounds. There are some great platforms to encourage children to actively create.
As a growing company, Art Sharks is creating a game creator-in-a-game, where we take the fun of games and bring it to its fullest potential. Active versus passive gaming is the aim, where children put their problem-solving skills to the test, and watch their creations come to life before their eyes.
(8) They do bring people together!
Games can be social. They DO bring people together! 20,000 people *watching* people play video games seems unthinkable to most parents, but we must wake up and smell the coffee! Games are not what they once were.
Imagine the days when we (the parents) went to the arcade (This post by Jason Good is particularly touching). The biggest concern then (and still is today) is that their children will end up on the outskirts of society. Communication is key when it comes to any challenges with children, it is not enough to dismiss a child’s interests. I am victim to this as well, when my child brings a phat Pokémon book as a bedtime story; while I prefer a traditional story, I should also keep in mind of HIS interests and get involved.
Good ol’ Alex Trebek felt very open in criticizing those who may not fit the traditional mould. As the Connery SNL skit goes: Easy for you: Alex, you are holding the cards!
So there we have it: 8 reasons to pacify your inner angst over video games. Or to show that you are keeping an eye on things with your child and video games, and how they need not be the demonized activity they are made out to be!