Gaming is a gift to your kids: Gaming’s benefits

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Unhealthy gamer

While all of us love gaming, many of us were raised to believe that it was a waste of time, or even worse, detrimental to our health and development. Well, time to get rid of those alternate facts and tell the real story – gaming can be healthy, and help your kids grow into better humans.

We’ve told you a lot of this information before, but it never hurts to remind everyone all in one place. Besides, maybe you’ve recently spawned a person, or maybe you didn’t read the article back then because you were never going to make a person and that thought pattern has since changed. Either way, here are some of the amazing benefits of gaming.

Gaming’s benefits: Health

Pokemon go

First, let’s get the big one out of the way. Screen time is often vilified in the media. It’s considered potentially hazardous to children’s health. However, the experts have now come out and said that simply isn’t true. The tool isn’t evil, it’s how you use it. Leave your kids unattended with screens all day instead of engaging with them? Sure, that’s not a good idea. But letting your little one watch some YouTube or play a game isn’t going to ruin them, and starting them young with understanding digital citizenship in a supervised environment might even be a good thing.

Along those same lines, it has been repeated refuted that violent games make people violent. Obviously you shouldn’t be letting your young child play mature games, in the same way that consuming mature content before they’re ready in general is just not a wise thing to do. However, killing something in games won’t make them want to kill in real life.

Even better, gaming has been shown to be good for health. Research found that shooters can help those with vision issues and even cure “lazy eye”. It’s all about syncing up the eyes and activities or something, but it’s a big deal for kids who struggle with visual impairment. Gaming could be a very real solution to the problem.

Research has even shown that gaming can help with pain management, distracting participants from their chronic pain in a way that isn’t experience with other treatments. Speaking of treatment, gaming can help with psychological issues as well. Want your kid to overcome a fear of spiders but you aren’t that kind of cruel and inhuman person to make them touch real spiders? Virtual reality could be a safe environment for people to slowly become exposed to, and eventually accustomed to, their phobic environments. Sounds like a nice extra for those practicing cognitive behavioral therapy.

Finally, there are games that can get people healthy. Look at how the Wii revolutionized movement-based games. Even Pokemon Go increased the amount people got out of the house and walked. This might not be gaming in the traditional sense of the word, but it is still very real and has a fabulous impact on health.

Gaming’s benefits: Development

Mass effect decision

From a young age, gaming can be beneficial for development. The fine motor skills required throughout a person’s life can be developed in gaming, with timing of button pushes, as well as manipulating a sequence of inputs all helping to improve motor skills.

Added to this is better and faster decision making skills – gamers have practice making decisions quickly throughout their gaming experiences, learning to accept the consequences while also striving for the best possible results. Thanks to practicing this skill, gamers are simply better, faster decision makers.

Related to this, gamers performed better than non-gamers at making out details in clutter and managing events, as well as showing signs of better coordination and ability to process visual information. In an increasingly visually saturated world, this is an important skill for kids and adults to possess.

Best of all, gaming might just make you smarter. Kids who played games had higher reading skills, and generally improved intellectual competence and school performance. Obviously, there need to be limits and it’s not something where the more you play the smarter you get, but combined with other activities, gaming can indeed improve academic achievement.

Don;t believe us? Here’s a link to 17 reasons why playing games is good for kids. 

Gaming’s benefits: Long term

Teddy civ vi

The benefits go beyond these fantastic ones already described. Talk to most gamers, and you will find that their interest in gaming sparked other tangential interests. Playing RPGs made me curious about mythology, especially as those myths and stories are often used as inspiration for games. Early games used to draw on classic music like compositions from Debussey, Rachmaninov and Chopin for battle or over world scores. This tied in with my piano lessons, making the music feel more relevant than it might have otherwise.

There is also the social aspect. Gamers are often smeared in representations as being anti-social or lacking social skills all together. While there are plenty of anecdotal examples (including on the Critical Hit team), the reality is that gaming is excellent for social skills. People need to learn how to play together, how to resolve conflict (something that many still need a lot of work on) and how to work in a team playing a specific role. Even single player games can help people to learn social skills – many games require players to talk to NPCs, develop relationships and prove themselves worthy. Sure, no one in the real world will ask you to kill rats for them to become your friend, but the concepts of loyalty, betrayal and companionship are still very important in day to day life.

How has gaming benefitted your life? Do you have superior mapping skills thanks to all the dungeon exploring you’ve done? Are you a history buff thanks to all the hours you poured into Civilization? Why do you want to pass your love of gaming on to the next generation (if you have indeed spawned or plan to eventually)?

Last Updated: January 25, 2017

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let’s get on with it!

  • MonsterCheddar
  • Spathi

    As a proud father of a 14 week old baby daughter (Zoey), I’m bookmarking this article for future reference. Thanks for the well researched and informative piece Zoe!

    Regarding your question, definitely. My reading and driving skills, as well as my reflexes have all improved because of my hobby. It helps me relax and keeps me in touch with friends that are overseas or far from where I am.

    I will encourage my daughter to play games (in moderation, like everything in life) and believe her life will be richer as a result thereof. If she doesn’t want to, that’s fine too!

    • Dresden

      Congratulations man! Best of wishes to you and the family.

    • Zoe Hawkins

      congrats!!

    • Hammersteyn

      Congrats buddy!

    • MonsterCheddar

      Congrats Dude

  • Lu

    Besides better reaction time, analytical skills and coordination? Quality time with my parents. My dad and I played Carmageddon and Tie Fighter, while my mom played co op games on the golden china like Twin Bee and Battle City.

  • Original Heretic

    Kill a rat, make a friend? Sounds like a good deal!

  • Magoo

    I have made many quality friends online. Through joining competitive teams as well as just adding friendly & compatible strangers and spending more and more time with them in-game. It’s probably the biggest plus for me as I am not very “socially-adapt”.

    • Lu

      Hell yes to this.

  • In short: Gaming rocks.

  • Dresden

    Picking Kaidan over Ashley?!
    HERESY!!!

    • Admiral Chief

      IKR???????????

    • Lu

      Haha 1 in 6 playthroughs. I chose Kaidan.

      • Admiral Chief

        1/11 here

        • Guava_Eater

          U can pick Kaidan??!?!?!?!?!?!?

        • Lu

          He’s just so whiney. I only let him live for the sake of proper role playing.

  • Admiral Chief

    Gaming has made me a better me.

    Also, NOT playing CoD and so on helped with this process

    • Hammersteyn

      But it has helped many kids lose their virginity

      • Lu

        Hahaha on experienced MILFs?

        • Hammersteyn

          Well they’re mostly moms so they have some experience

          • Lu

            Hahaha one would hope.

    • MonsterCheddar

      OMW. Then I don’t want to know how you were before…

  • Cat

    Gaming has developed my capacity to learn & reflexes to some extent…Great article, bookmarked for future use to prove a point.

    • Hammersteyn

      Cat like reflexes?
      😛

  • Matthew Holliday

    Dont forget that gaming is a better addiction than meth, cocaine and alcohol.

  • Hammersteyn

    I love my gaming, finished Watchdogs 2 and started GTA 3 that’s been sitting in my backlog for ages. It’s amazing how far we have come

    • Lu

      I started MechWarrior 4 yesterday…..

      • Hammersteyn

        Nice!

        • Lu

          This while I have several 2016 releases waiting to be played, but none of them have giant stompy mechs so they can wait.

    • Dresden

      To me, personally, the Liberty City map is probably my favorite. The graphics may be a bit outdated but it has a nice Italian mafia vibe to it.
      Enjoy!

  • Kensei Seraph – Terran Ghost

    Age of Empires has taught me 90% of what I know about world history.

    Edit: Also, gaming helped me overcome the anger and depression issues I had as a child.

  • Guava_Eater

    Thanks for this Lady! Good Read!