Should I Let My Child Play Video Games? The daunting question parents continue to ask themselves: should I let my child play video games? This question is not new, but parents toil with the answer to this question. In 2020, technology has only continued to be more prevalent with kids having even more access to screen time with the switch to online learning. With the pandemic also limiting summer activities this year we ask ourselves, is it okay for kids to turn to video games this summer instead of playing with friends?
As a curriculum manager of a coding school I say yes, here’s why:
Gaming has benefits to help children learn in new ways
When kids are very young, they learn by playing – it’s a large aspect of a child’s learning. Obviously, attending school is a great way to learn, but it isn’t the only way; kids need more channels than just textbooks, and this is where gaming comes into play. Different games can also have different learning purposes that can appeal to various personalities. For example, some children are more creative and are drawn to adventure games, while others may be drawn to problem-solving games. Games that hone into creativity and problem-solving are certainly more beneficial to a child than a game with violence or profanity. A nice example of a good problem-solving game is Minecraft – it helps engage a child and learn as they reach new levels. At iCode (the after-school coding franchise for kids), we make sure to have these types of various games on hand that help to build different types of skills based on a child’s interests.
Gaming can help kids socialize
Given the current climate, socializing during a pandemic has been hard for children and adults. Gaming allows kids to create a whole new identity that helps them be who they are and can therefore socialize with people that have the same interests as they do. In video gaming, they can customize their character to be who they want to be and be as creative as they’d like. Plus, children get the opportunity to work in teams, which can be helpful for learning how to problem-solve as a group. Parents can sometimes have concerns about profanity or bullying, however games often monitor this to make sure that young children aren’t being exposed to these types of interactions.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em
Parents might be wondering what age they should let their kids play video games with their friends: the reality is that most kids now and moving forward have access to a smartphone, tablet and computer before they can read. Children grasp technology and gadgets quite easily. As technology becomes more a part of a child’s learning experience, parents should seek opportunities to have a child “play with a purpose” by choosing a learning game. There are plenty of games where kids can learn about colors, numbers and similar basics as a young child. These types of games keep kids more engaged than a typical television show and result in a stronger outcome after interacting with the game that is hands-on.
Additionally, as children grow older and interact with friends more freely, chances are video games will become a popular choice for entertainment. This is where it’s important to not avoid video games altogether, but educate your child on playing games properly and not doing anything inappropriate. If a child has never seen a video game before, then they may be more susceptible to the dangers of it without even knowing it if they are playing for the first time with friends. But, if they learn from the beginning on how to safely enjoy video gaming, then they will have more of an understanding of what is and what’s not allowed.
Takeaway: Monitor your children’s gaming closely
While there are several benefits to gaming, parents need to take an active interest in the games their kids are playing to make sure kids aren’t opening themselves up to inappropriate content or people. Parents should talk to their children about online and gaming safety, such as never giving out personal information to strangers online. Playing video games opens up new avenues for kids to socialize, learn new skills and exercise problem solving abilities. But, even during the pandemic, parents should think about setting time limits for kids and screen time.
iCode is a national computer science education franchise offering after school and summer programs, equips children with the skills and knowledge to compete in today’s technological environment. Committed to quality and providing in-depth learning experiences, the brand’s proprietary curricula and several unique technology education programs set it apart in the fast-growing coding education space.