Guest poster Eric Rogers shares 4 reasons to say yest to computer games today. And he has first hand knowledge of the benefits having waited in line for both the Ps4 and Xb1, he’s a seasoned gamer. In addition to regularly playing Pokemon, he blogs on next-gen games.
Video games have never been more vilified in American households. Researcher Brad Bushman argues that violent games can increase hostility and aggression, and the First Lady has spent eight years campaigning for children to spend less time in front of a screen and more time outdoors. But before you ban computer games in your home, consider the possibilities that gaming offers — children can explore the stars and control a virtual space of their own. Below are four aspects in which certain computer games can increase children’s abilities:
To improve mental dexterity for children, try hidden object games. The online (and more challenging) version of "Where’s Waldo," and games like "Clutter III," encourage children to think quickly, and develop strategy skills. The "Clutter" series asks players to identify matching masks, antique furniture, and other oddities while trashing coins and loose letters. These games increase in difficulty as a child advances, and incorporate mini-games and riddles to keep engagement high.
A recent article in the St. Cloud Times put forth two important facts: autism rates are rising nationally and early intervention is key in helping children adapt and bringing down special education costs. For parents facing an early diagnosis on the autism spectrum, online games can be a great way to prepare students for school. There are many games available that help kids practice their social skills. One unique game specifically aimed at autistic children, "Robbie the Robot," places a human face on a mechanical robot — a combination that is more comforting and engaging than it is off-putting — to aid in the interpretation of facial expressions.
Though the benefits of "active" console games that encourage kids to dance or swing their arms is still debated, these games are being judged on increasing exercise, not building healthy habits. The White House released a game that won’t burn any calories during gameplay, but may help clear up misconceptions related to health and nutrition. In "BlastOff," kids enter their age and gender, then design a custom power menu with dozens of breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner choices. Each option pops up with nutritional facts — too much sugar or a failure to eat a balanced meal is noted with alerts and alternatives. Only a full serving of dairy, vegetables, protein, fruit, and carbs (plus an hour of exercise), while staying under the recommended calorie limit, will fuel and successfully launch a rocket.
Online painting avoids the mess and expense of real paint, with the added bonus of a digital masterpiece that can be saved without taking up space in the closet. Programs like "PaintGo" offer various brushes, colors, stamps, and stickers to be used on educational coloring pages. If children opt for a blank page, they can create a story using skills they will apply in English courses down the road. The hand-eye coordination skills practiced will translate far beyond the keyboard.