While there are downsides to playing video games, there are also surprising benefits. Video games can help kids build skills and make social connections.
What kids call “survival games” are actually brilliant adaptations of classic board/card games. Kids can develop critical decision-making skills, strengthen cooperation, and teach empathy and social interaction. Little does any parent know that playing video games could change the entire trajectory of their child’s life.
Yet, not all video games are created equal. Steam’s free games list features renowned games like Minecraft and Fortnite. Or Bigscreen’s “kids games” give odds as high as 3–4 to win a game of Candy Crush. What makes this so problematic is that parents could end up paying a few dollars for a shovelware game and miss the real gems of the platform.
As a marketer, I get it. We want to use marketing to get people to interact with our products. Yet, we should approach games from different perspectives. I love to see people playing DOTA and playing Super Mario in the background without gloating or losing interest.
In reality, gamers are just like the rest of us: humans with different needs and wants. Marketing should contextualize and talk about gaming as it relates to mothers, families, and day-to-day life. Video games are often immersed in fantasy worlds where gamers can let down their guard. Subtle themes may win individuals to stick around for a few more hours. Influences exist like themes, characters, and mechanics that resonate with the players.
Games can also offer exercises and tough puzzles to make learning easier. It can help children build social connections with their peers. Parents, as game executives, need to take riskier bets while balancing budgets. Because video games are in a publicity race, game developers face intense scrutiny and visibility to sell new games. While appearances play a role in the development, the technology and game engine companies should do more to fight the stigma around mental health and suicide.
The headaches and nausea some people feel while playing might just be the benefit we crave. Since 2008, 41% of children and adolescents have tried a video game. If you want more kids to game, consider this: If we want to grow as a society, we need to learn from and help each other grow.
There is also something else behind the 4 am wake-up call: a need for escapism.
Escapism is a literal and figurative blue ocean. Everyone’s different, but gaming provides limitless scope for self-expression. Even though humans may lose themselves in games, we also need a way to cope with the harsh reality of life. A crushing diagnosis permanently confined me to a dark room. Even though I couldn’t spend more than 60 minutes in that house, I was productive and creative.
Here’s a look at the top five cool kid’s games that might entice parents.
Iron Butterfly was the best game for a five-year-old to play, according to USA Today. The game teaches kids about traffic accidents and situational awareness, and it’s a good way to encourage kids to talk to and ask questions of adults.
You Don’t Know Jack is a great game for teaching critical listening skills. It’s also great for incorporating role-playing and playfulness into your child’s mental health routine. The game can promote socialization and prompt kids to follow a “lead” without them feeling like the “chase.”
Magic Phone is a unique game that lets kids use their phones as magic wands. Players must choose between their phone and their imagination to cast their spells. Potentially, playing this game could improve spatial reasoning and communication skills for children.
IKEA’s book series The Little Book of Magic is so popular that you could get caught up in the full series at once. The games in this series are focused either on reading, making crafts, or creating magic tricks. Kids will have a lot of fun crafting and playing with magic while learning about the other characters and plotlines.
Atom Granny is an adventure game for kids where you aren’t sure who the villain is. Sounds simple enough right? The game teaches empathy and critical thinking, making it a great game for kids to play with their parents. Plus, many of the characters from the game end up being the main characters in their own games.
Doom Eternal is a well-known series by a studio that has made acclaimed games like Demon’s Souls, Infamous, and Batman: Arkham Knight. Doom Eternal has a special place in the gaming community because of its unique art style, chunky gameplay, and hardcore level of challenge. Beyond the story, Doom Eternal can provide hours of puzzle-solving as you piece together a powerful magical arsenal together.
Where and when you play also makes a difference:
Parents should be good role models for their kids. When you watch kids play, you shouldn’t just see video games as some fun things to do. Yes, they can build skills and build social connections. But there are also important lessons to be learned from playing games. These include the basic kinds of learning your kid will learn: problem-solving, social skills, and problem-solving with technology. For all this, video games are perfectly suited for kids. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons.
Adults don’t just spend all their time waiting in lines and playing Solitaire. Technology is in almost every corner of our lives. The technology works differently for everyone, even when adults use it. For example, while parents are outstretching and playing with their kids, the kids are watching YouTube videos. The secret is that technology isn’t a disposable thing. Parts of it break or malfunction. And learning to use technology also takes time, whether you’re using it in a classroom with other teachers, or playing games in your basement with friends.
Technology can be fun, and entertainment sometimes works as a substitute for learning. What the kids don’t know until much later is that instead of just watching a show or playing video games, they’re learning something new. So when you take a step back and you think about the bigger picture, kids deserve the chance to experience that.
When you play video games with a specific goal in mind, you’re implicitly training your brain. In other words, you’re physically training your brain. And there’s lots of research that suggests regular, regular gaming helps people adapt faster to challenges.
For example, some research has found playing a competitive video game helps people improve their reaction time, using video games as a way to hone social skills. When the gamer gets knocked out of a game, they don’t just stare at the screen in frustration — they try to make it right.
Another study found that people who play games every day become better problem solvers than other people — even those who rarely play. The reason is that regular gaming can teach your brain how to think. Basically, games like Monopoly force you to treat every square of the board the same way. Big Deal makes you try to solve complex problems. Listbuilding makes you think about the order in which you’ll fill out a resume.
That’s important for learning because it’s one of the key skills children need to be good problem solvers.
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