Well, there it is. First they tell us coffee isn’t good for us, then they tell us it is. First they tell us that chocolate isn’t good for us, then they tell us it is. Now they’re telling us that video games are actually good for our kids. What next?!?!
According to a new study released by the American Psychological Association video games, and here’s the kicker, especially violent 3D shooter type games, actually help children.
“Contrary to conventional beliefs that playing video games is intellectually lazy and sedating, it turns out that playing these games promotes a wide range of cognitive skills. This is particularly true for shooter video games (often called “action” games by researchers), many of which are violent in nature (e.g., Halo 4, Grand Theft Auto IV).”
“spatial skills can be trained with video games in a relatively brief period, that these training benefits last over an ex-tended period of time, and crucially, that these skills trans-fer to other spatial tasks outside the video game context.”
The 13-page study is available online and recognizes other benefits, including cognitive, health and social skills. Video games like Angry Birds and other simple, quick play games also promote relaxation and relieve stress.
It is important to note that these advantages, however, need to be weighed against other negative effects that gaming may produce such as isolation and addiction. Children that also play a lot of video games tend not to get as much exercise as other children.
For now the answer to the question of whether or not you should let your kids play video games is probably the same as it’s always been. It depends on the child, on the age of the child and on whether or not video games is part of a balanced approach to other activities and social interaction. At least it can help you feel a little better about allowing your child to play video games but again, you need to be a responsible parent and monitor your child and see how the gaming is effecting him or her. You know your child best and should be aware of whether or not playing video games is having a negative effect that outweighs the positive it may or may not be producing.