The value of video games and the impact they have on children has long been debated in both scientific and political circles. While some people believe that video games have adverse effects on the brains of young children, research has shown that they can improve cognition in kids. This list of 8 cognitive benefits of playing video games for kids will help you see why gaming isn’t bad.
1) More Gray Matter
A study published in PLoS One found a relationship between playing video games and gray matter (the brain cells responsible for muscle control, memory, thought, speech and emotion). The study authors note that previous research has shown a link between video game use and more brain activity.
Even if you’re not a gamer yourself—perhaps you just think your kid should be doing something else with his time—this research makes an argument that could affect your opinion.
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2) Increased Brain Volume
Playing video games has been shown to increase gray matter in specific regions, namely, areas involved in visuospatial perception and motor control. A study published in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience found that action video game players had increased gray matter volume in brain regions linked to spatial perception, motor control, and multi-tasking. Another study published by PLOS One found that those who played video games experienced increased cortical thickness after playing certain puzzle games.
3) Improved Psychomotor Speed and Reaction Time
Playing action-based video games like Super Mario Brothers or Halo 3 can improve psychomotor skills and reaction time. These skills are essential in helping your child score better on school exams and when it comes to sports like basketball, baseball, and football, even chess!
As your child gets older, you can even help them identify real-world scenarios where fast reflexes may mean a big difference. For example, with more acute visual perception skills from playing video games, they will be better equipped to drive a car at high speeds or engage in close combat situations. Additionally, your children will become accustomed to using their peripheral vision while focusing on multiple things at once – an ability that most adults do not possess!
4) Enhanced Visualization
With their active imaginations, video games are a great way to help kids develop and improve visualization skills. Visualization is an important skill that helps your brain practice creating a picture out of data; if you can’t visualize something, it’s difficult to understand it or build something around it.
The more you’re able to visualize concepts like networks, systems, and algorithms in your mind’s eye, the better prepared you’ll be when you study them formally. Because they use creative thinking abilities, games also offer a valuable platform for helping children with ADD or ADHD learn to focus and strengthen their attention spans. Even playing an hour per day can make a difference in these attention issues!
5) Better Working Memory
As they begin to understand that their actions in a game can have consequences, children develop rudimentary working memory. This type of memory is important because it allows children to hold information in their minds while actively manipulating or combining it with other information.
Playing video games helps children develop these abilities by forcing them to remember where objects are on-screen, what actions lead to different outcomes, and how all those elements interact. Playing video games is like working out a brain muscle: If you don’t use it, you lose it.
6) Reduced Anxiety
Numerous studies suggest that playing video games can reduce anxiety. For example, one study showed that women with low life satisfaction who played Tetris for three minutes exhibited reduced stress and lowered cortisol levels after doing so.
Another study by scientists at Oxford University found that just half an hour of playing Tetris every day can help alleviate PTSD symptoms in patients recovering from a traumatic experience. This may be because video games help to distract us from worrying about our problems. Alternatively, video games could provide rewarding feedback, which our brain interprets as pleasure (the release of dopamine).
7) Stronger Neural Connections
For kids, playing video games may lead to stronger neural connections in brain regions associated with vision and movement. This could help improve motor skills and enhance cognition and memory. So far, much of the research on video games has focused on violent titles like Call of Duty or Halo.
But it’s important to note that many games involve hand-eye coordination or require a player to solve problems. A game that involves navigating a character through an obstacle course could help improve motor skills.
8) Improves Self-Esteem
When a child’s self-esteem is compromised, it has far-reaching effects. Fortunately, video games can help children develop an enhanced sense of self-worth and accomplishment through a sense of mastery—which comes from completing increasingly difficult tasks.
As kids learn how to control their in-game avatars, they become more adept at controlling themselves and developing confidence that transfers into other areas of their lives.
Conclusion:As parents, You must ensure that our kids get the most out of their time playing video games. And with these 8 Neurobiological benefits of video games for kids, we’re confident that they’re in for a real treat! They get to sharpen their problem-solving skills, but they also learn how to cooperate and communicate, fine-tune their strategic thinking, and boost their concentration span.