Can Video Games Improve Your Child’s Health?

It’s the natural reaction of most parents to cringe when their children insist on playing video games yet again instead of reading or playing outside. Despite the popularity of video games, many parents and professionals have expressed concern for years regarding the negative impacts of video games on the psychological health of young players.

Much to the surprise of many moms and dads, new studies are suggesting that video games played in moderation can actually support and improve a child’s health in more ways than one!

Creative Problem Solving. Problem solving is a heavily emphasized skill in schools today, especially as the world becomes a more and more complex place to live. Video games can actually sharpen a child’s decision-making skills since many games require split-second decisions to resolve dilemmas that can determine the fate of the game. A player must learn to weigh the pros and cons of different decisions quickly and efficiently in order to survive the game, and this helps to hone sophisticated critical thinking skills that can translate into the real world.

Motor Skills. It’s now well-known that playing video games can improve hand-eye coordination, but did you know that this benefit is actually so influential that games are being used to help train surgeons to make precise movements and perform tasks in small spaces? Children struggling with handwriting, scissor use, and tying shoes can all benefit from enhancing their motor skills using video games.

Memory. Studies are now showing that certain video games can strengthen the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for complex learning and memory. Some individuals improved their memory abilities by as much as 12 percent after consistent video game experiences! Researchers hope this discovery can inform treatment for memory and cognition conditions.

Reduce Stress. It’s easy to roll your eyes at a fourth grader who comes home from school declaring he needs to play some video games to “de-stress,” but there’s a great deal of truth to that situation. Children do experience stress and depression with academic and social problems, and video games can be relaxing exercises to reduce stress levels.

Social Wellbeing. Talking to friends through video games may not look like the social experiences that parents had as children, but today’s tech-savvy kids enjoy using chat features of video games to communicate with friends and bond over the events of various video games. This is an excellent way for children with social anxiety to begin interacting with peers.

Moderation is key, and some video games are definitely better than others, but at least video games are not all bad news!

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