When my kids got old enough to understand what video games were and they began to take an interest in them, I thought that letting them play them would create a lifelong addiction to something that would not benefit them in any way, so naturally, I decided to not allow them to play them.
But when my son was about four, I sent him to my sister’s house for a weekend. She had a video game system that her boyfriend played all the time, and since my son asked to play too, he played all weekend. Soon after his video game weekend, I started to let him play at home for a couple of hours a week so that I could get some housework done. I soon realized that video games might not be as bad for him as I had previously thought.
Video games can help a toddler learn coordination since they have to coordinate the player on the game with the buttons they push on the video game controller. Coordination was something that my son seemed to be having trouble with, but soon after he was playing video games, his coordination started to get better very quickly. He was using his eating utensils better and that made mealtime a lot less messy.
Video games also can help with problem solving skills. When my son was playing his video game, he had to choose which route to take or whether a character on the game is good or bad in just a few seconds. This carried over to real life where he got better at solving his own problems and making decisions. He also got better at sports, such as football and basketball. Now that my son is older, he doesn’t play much Finding Nemo or Sponge Bob anymore. His favorite game now is a basketball game, which helps him play better basketball in the real world.
Video games have also helped my son with his reading skills. In order to play video games, in most cases, there is some reading involved. Whether it is to explain the plot, the directions, or dialogue between characters, players need to read these things in the video games.
At first, my son tried to avoid reading and just figure it out as he went, but he eventually realized that he had to read in order to be good at the games. This encouraged him to want to read and get the extra practice to be able to read better.
Don’t get me wrong, too much time with video games can become a horrible thing. A child can easily become addicted to playing video games and lose interest in other things that they once enjoyed. I only allow my son certain designated times to play so he knows when he can play and he doesn’t argue when he has to quit. The key to productive video game playing is moderation.
Too much can be harmful, but I do believe that they can be a positive influence if used correctly.
Obviously, I am not including the violent or bloody video games into this point. Those types of games should only be played by adults in my opinion.