Whether on mobile devices, computers or gaming systems, there is no doubt that video games are taking up more and more of our kids time during this unprecedented global pandemic. As we begin seeing the first indications of a rising surge, we can start to ask ourselves “Is this much video game play a good thing?”.
Not only are video games great during the pandemic but there are many reasons why you should encourage your gamer to continue engaging with digital play even after the pandemic subsides. Below, we lay out the 5 reasons why this makes sense in the development of kids.
1. Inspires future career paths
As we focus on teaching kids how to code and build with technology, we have to enable their inspiration to come from many different places. For many students, there 1st introduction to technology is through playing video games.
Depending on which video games peak their interest, they are often super inspired to create their own version that will be played by millions when they get older.
Since video game development is heavily focused on coding and design, this provides a great entry point to future success.
In addition, while e-sports and celebrity gamers are just getting started; there is no doubt that as the current generation comes of age, professional gaming careers will be much more mainstream.
2. Teaches kids how to interact with others digitally
For a very long time, digital communities have not been as open or inclusive as the broader society. In many ways, its easier to be mean or mean spirited when you are on the other side of a keyboard than when you have to see someone face to face.
Now that one of the only ways to safely interact and engage with peers is through video gaming, the next generation is developing key behaviors that will help them both get through the pandemic and continue to treat people the right way even after the pandemic is over.
Similar to the real world, those who don’t behave appropriately can find it difficult if not impossible to find gaming partners. With a limited number of alternatives, social norms about appropriate behavior are being established that will be helpful throughout their lives as more and more products and services migrate online.
3. Builds technical fluency
For those who witness technology change either mid or late stage, the shift can be jarring. Going from having a landline to a cellular telephone can be difficult or using a GPS system instead of a paper map can seem like the entire world has changed.
For those who play video games, they often have a front row seat into the latest technical advances. This technical fluency can be as simple as knowing that you have to confirm your selections before you advance to a subsequent screen or being mindful of how to close out a game so that you can navigate to another game.
With continued advances in user interfaces and navigation that leverage best practices from the design realm, kids are better able to increase their native digital fluency. This knowledge base in transferrable to other digital interfaces which they be exposed to in other areas of their lives.
4. Develops strategy & execution skills
Let’s face it, the purpose of video games is to compete and progress towards mastery. In order to keep it engaging, video games often have a progressive rewards and incentive system that is designed to provide early wins and then as the game goes on to make it harder and harder to feel accomplished.
In many ways, this provides a great parallel to challenges kids may face during their academic and professional careers. By creating this environment in the context of a game, kids are able to develop their strategy and execution skills in a low risk environment.
If they lose a round or a battle in a game, it isn’t the end of the world. Instead, the lesson for how to overcome can be taught and they can return to the game and try a different approach. By doing this enough times, they will be able to improve their competitiveness within the game.
Ultimately, if they are able to understand the connective tissue between this simulated environment and that of the real world, they can often be that much more ahead when they are faced with issues personally and professionally.
5. Provides ground level trend insights
Similar to entertainment, game developers often have the liberty to project into the future by analyzing trends and seeking to incorporate those into their video games to provide a futuristic look and feel.
While some of their predictions may not pan out, it does give kids a sneak peek at what the world may evolve to and lessens their surprise. It also enables them to potentially poke holes in future projections to see why an expected trend didn’t materialize.
For those who are especially inventive, it may provide motivation to bring an idea to reality that they first were introduced to via a video game. In this way and others, they get to not just be passive observers but active inventors in creating the future that they think would help to make the world a better place.
While it may seem kids are wasting time or there are more productive things that they could be doing, the reality is that video games are a great activity for kids to engage with both during and after the pandemic.
For a time, video games were considering niche and only were played by a small percentage of the population. However, now that video games are mainstream, it is important that we allow kids to engage with these platforms so that they can receive the many benefits that comes along with game play.