Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Benefits of Video Games

Imagine that if you give them the tools their curiosity will take over.

       Kids Learn to Think: A+ Edition [Nintendo DS Game]

I enjoy being a parent and always thinking about what is going to be the next idea to help my little girl grow and stretch. My daughter was given a beautiful +Nintendo DS for Christmas at the age of 4. Needless to say at the time I felt she is still too young for games but her uncle +Joseph insisted.   He is a game connoisseur he wanted her to get started in developing her motor skills.  Personally, I have never put full value into video games but when challenged I will try my best. I can also become frustrated by my lack of hand and eye coordination but I'm not shy.

Well now as for my daughter she is 5 years old and plays games like "Let's Draw" , "Team Umizoomi" and attempts to play "Monster High". I figured why not mix up her selection with games that have more learning themes.  After a discussion with a fellow mom +Angelica Taylor got excited by my ideas and immediately considered how her child who is now in third grade would benefit from a variety of themes in his collection of games. She decided she will be purchasing a few of these titles as well. 

It can't hurt to incorporate games that stretch their understanding.

It doesn't matter what age you start but imagine if you catch them early... ?

A recent study from the Education Development Center and the U.S. Congress-supported Ready To Learn (RTL) Initiative found that a curriculum that involved digital media such as video games could improve early literacy skills when coupled with strong parental and teacher involvement. Interestingly, the study focused on young children, and 4- and 5-year- old who participated showed increases in letter recognition, sounds association with letters, and understanding basic concepts about stories and print.       
Video Games in Moderation

Their are many reasons to be concerned about all the different types of interactions that our children may encounter throughout the day.  I would heavily consider that everything they do must be done in moderation but more importantly with purpose.  As parents we should consider the advantages of technology in our lives and how this technology can impact our children's lives in a positive way.  

On purpose these products can encourage independence, critical thinking and problem solving skills.  Don't shy away from games that seemed to be challenging just utilize the time to support your child.  Give them words of encouragement and show them what they can do when they practice by modeling a few moves.  The chances are high that your little one will go off and try to hurdle their own little challenges on the screen.  Every moment is a teachable moment so on purpose take advantage of those moments.  

Its a Family Affair

Moreover, the benefits of video games on children and adults are endless.  Let's reshape your thinking or doubts about them if any.  Did you know that these game products are fun, exciting and interactive?  There is a game for every type of personality or interest. Just keep an open mind and embrace new concepts and technology.  This would be an valuable lesson to share with your children and a fun idea to incorporate into family time. 
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) indicates that video games can help adults process information much faster and improve their fundamental abilities to reason and solve problems in novel contexts. In fact, results from the ONR study show that video game players perform 10 percent to 20 percent higher in terms of perceptual and cognitive ability than non-game players.
Finally, keep in mind that as your child is learning and growing you can be too.   These activities are also great when shared by the whole family.  Its a great time to socialize and model positive and encourage good manners and behaviors.  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Make Wednesday nights "Game night" after homework of course. (2 game maximum)
  2. Definitely consider all the other activities that fit into your child's schedule. So I often suggest reading, tablet games or her personal game console for extra curricular activities. For example: car rides, in between time or the doctors office.
  3. Have a "Game Night" with friends and or family.  Everyone is involved and the kids love it.
  4. Join the PTA and recommend a Family Game Night where it is possible to encourage other parents who are not sure or reluctant to embrace technology at home. 
I'm taking this opportunity to share what is working for me and my little scholar. Knowledge is power and sharing is giving.  So I hope this will encourage you to utilize your time with your family on purpose.  Its all about the kids and what will encourage growth and success in their lives.  Good Luck!
Benefits of Video Games ABC