5 Things Parents Should Know About Video Gaming
September 21, 2020
RESEARCH SHOWS YOUR KIDS COULD EXPERIENCE IMPROVED MOOD, SOCIABILITY, AND EVEN BRAIN CONNECTIVITY
Much like traditional sports, esports is a rapidly growing industry — global revenue hit $1.1 billion in 2019 — that features leagues, tournaments, college scholarships, advertising sponsorship, recruiters, and professional players. In fact, 16-year-old Kyle Giersdorf recently won $3 million as the Fortnite World Cup Champion.
But beyond the potentially lucrative deals and winnings are deeper more important reasons that you should consider getting your kids involved with esports. Simply put, esports come with the kind of advantages that any sport offers, including teamwork, discipline, and empowerment. But that’s not all. According to recent studies, esports also have these benefits:
IMPROVED BRAIN FUNCTION
Research conducted at York University found that some action strategy video games can act similar to IQ tests, and those who perform well at the games tend to be more intelligent and can think more strategically with higher levels of play. That may be because video games can potentially increase gray matter volume in the brain, noted another study, which found enhanced functional connectivity in gamers. Basically, gaming can change your brain in beneficial ways.
MORE CREATIVITY AND PROBLEM-SOLVING
In a study published in American Psychologist, researchers found that video games can boost children’s learning, health, and social skills. Through regular play, gamers strengthen their spatial navigation, reasoning, memory, and perception, not to mention enhance their problem-solving skills. Researchers found that video games, but not other forms of technology, enhanced children’s creativity. So, it wasn’t just being in a tech environment that built up these attributes — it was actual gameplay.
BETTER POSITIONING FOR STEM CAREERS
Another finding in the American Psychologist study was that all these particular advantages that gamers develop through consistent play are basically training them for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Also, esports offer opportunities for college scholarships at numerous educational institutions.
MORE RELAXATION AND LESS ANXIETY
An additional takeaway from that study was that playing video games made children happy. They showed improved moods, more relaxation, and less anxiety. This caused the researchers to wonder if video games might be effective tools for learning emotional resilience and coping with failure and everyday difficulties.
STRENGTHENED SOCIAL SKILLS
Although the “loner game player” stereotype might be the prevalent thinking, the fact is that gaming can create a sense of camaraderie and community. Researchers at Columbia University found that young children who play games regularly are more likely to have better social skills than their non-gaming peers.