The negative headline media consistently makes playing video games out to be evil.
It’s like Dracula and the cross, they’ll tell you. Keep your teens away from them, they’re addictive, evil and hurt their precious brains, the media will tell you.
But is playing video games really “bad for you” or do they just say this because it makes headlines and causes us, as parents, to panic?
It’s an interesting question and I think we should address the following three things:
- Why are kids REALLY playing video games so much
- The real ‘Data’ about the impact playing video games has
- Some questions parents should be asking instead
If you’re interested in seeing the current list of the Top 100 Best Selling Video Games, click-here.
Let’s get started.
Why are Kids REALLY Playing Video Games
Recently author and national radio host Mark Gregston, founder of Heartlight Ministries, discussed navigating video games with your teens on his show.
You can give the show a quick listen here:
What’s interesting is Mark, whose ministry has helped bring 30,000+ families closer together, shared that there are three core reasons kids are playing video games:
- It gives our Tweens and Teens a sense of accomplishment
- It challenges our teens
- We’re all competitive and playing video games can be extremely competitive either playing online with others or individually
So the questions we should be asking ourselves as parents are:
- Why do our children need to play video games to feel a sense of accomplishment? Are we putting our children in situations where they can feel a sense of accomplishment outside the home (or even at home as a family)? We all crave those dopamine rushes and video games can give that to your children. Consider looking for natural ways to boost dopamine for our children outside of games.
- Does my tween or teen have other ways to feel challenged around the home in a fun way? Consider helping your child find a hobby that challenges him or her to find a balance or alternative to video gaming. Maybe it’s a craft, building something, a sport or learning to create a video game for themselves. In fact Skillshare has several fun courses that your Tween or Teen can take and within an hour be coding his or her very own game. (Click-Here for 2 Free Months from Skillshare)
- Some children/teens may not naturally exhibit a competitive behavior, yet the reality is we all have competitive tendencies. Consider having family game night. Our family loves playing backgammon, Uno and recently Bean Bag Toss outdoors. Now this creates another fun family dynamic since I myself (dad) am very competitive in nature (don’t worry, though, mom’s always there to keep things calm).
So next time you start to feel your blood pressure is rising because your kid has been playing games for several hours with friends, ask yourself if you’re addressing these three core human desires around the home.
Video Gaming Isn’t All Bad (The Statistics)
Currently, 164 million people are playing video games,according to VentureBeat.
Entertainment Software Association shared recently that total video games sales exceeded $43.4 billion in 2018.
In fact, if you feel your child is an outlier by playing video games daily, I strongly encourage you to look at this 2019 Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry.
The report goes over who the average gamer really is, stats on parents of gamers and who’s really playing games. You’ll be surprised by some of these stats.
10 Surprising Benefits of Playing Video Games
- Playing video games actually builds GRIT and a winning mindset!
- Young girls who play video games are 3 times likely to get a STEM Degree in College
- Online play has shown to help with making children feel they have a community and a place to feel safe.
- Playing video games helps with faster decision making
- Gaming has shown signs of reducing stress
- Gaming reduces other negative cravings (drugs, alcohol, overeating)
- Online play is being prescribed for those with lazy eye as a way to help
- Proven to improve hand–eye coordination
- Video game play increases your processing speed
- Action gamers tend to be better learners, according to Daphne Bavelier, a research professor in brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester
Conclusion: Playing Video Games isn’t Terrible
As the research above shows, playing video games is proven to benefit children more than the media makes them out to be.
The cons of playing video games, like anything, is when you overindulge and make it your only activity. Obviously, if you’re sitting around and playing video games day in and day out and that’s your only activity, then sure, the media has a point. But the research shows that for most kids, this isn’t the case, and that the stimulation they’re receiving from the game has tons of advantages.
If you do feel your child is over-gaming and it’s consuming to much time, consider as mentioned above:
- Finding other activities that put your child in a position to have a sense of accomplishment
- Find activities that your child will enjoy that adds a bit of competition to their life
- Find activities that will challenge your child outside of just playing video games
One possible alternative would be taking a look at Skillshare.
Skillshare, as we shared in our previous Skillshare review, has 28,000 different courses for the family and they have over 1000 quick classes around Gaming, like:
- Game Design (296 Classes)
- Game Development (190 Classes)
- Coding (342 classes)
If your kid loves video games, the industry has tons of opportunity for them, so consider helping them harness that passion into opportunity in their future.
Stanley Pierre-Louis is the Chief Executive Officer at Entertainment Software Association, which is leading public policy efforts to showcase the dynamic impact of the video game industry on business, entertainment, and culture. He shared in a recent interview the the video game industry is becoming one of the largest employers in the world and if your child is skilled in this, it can spell opportunity for them.
What are your thoughts on video gaming?
Join the discussion over in our Parent only Facebook Group and let us know.