And why video games may not be the time-waster you think they are
Quite often, we hear parents’ concerns that video games are antisocial, promote violence, or are a waste of time. And while we as an organization believe in limited, responsible (and age-appropriate) screen time, we also think there are plenty of misconceptions about video games that have been perpetuated over the years. Video games have evolved tremendously since their inception, but have remained a powerful entertainment option for many generations (not just the youngsters) as well a large chunk of global commerce. With an industry that has grown by the billions in the past year alone, it’s worth taking a look at the positives of video games, and understanding how they continue to be relevant.
Here are three benefits of playing video games:
1) The Social Experience
The front page of the popular video game streaming platform Twitch reads:
We are a global community of millions who come together each day to create their own entertainment. –Twitch
According to the medical journal American Psychologist, “More than 70 percent of gamers play with a friend, and millions of people worldwide participate in massive virtual worlds through video games such as Farmville and World of Warcraft (and Fortnite… and Minecraft…). Lessons in decision making, communication and trust are among the benefits not traditionally thought of in reference to videogames. The article goes on to note that “People who play video games… that encourage cooperation are more likely to be helpful to others.”
According to other studies, the element of socialization in today’s gaming world has had a tremendous impact on those with difficulty spending time with others in-person, like autistic people and those with major depressive disorder and social anxiety disorder.
“This unconventional method of communication is helpful in fostering connections while building the skills and confidence necessary to interact face-to-face. Although steps should be taken to ensure children’s safety online, online video games are a large part of the lives of young people and should be recognized as a source of social support.”
2) The cognitive benefits
A 2017 study suggests “some studies found that gamers show improvements in several types of attention, such as sustained attention or selective attention.” And goes on to read “The brain regions involved in attention are also more efficient in gamers and require less activation to sustain attention on demanding tasks.” It further outlines a decrease in reaction time and increase in spacial-awareness, motor skills, and problem-solving.*
*We strongly encourage parents to have conversations with your children about appropriate amounts of game/screen time and living a balanced lifestyle.
3) The potential for career opportunities
Most kids who are into video games can rattle off the names of a few famous gamers (yes, people who stream video-games to hundreds of thousands of viewers for a living). In the last five years, video game live streaming platforms have grown exponentially and made it possible for the average tech-savvy person to make a side-income or even a full-time living streaming video games on the platform. (Yes, college kids are even helping to put themselves through school this way.)
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The worldwide video game market is expected to be worth 90 billion dollars in 2020, with 80% of the revenue from software sales (WEPC). If we sit back and think for a moment about all the jobs in an industry of this magnitude (artists, designers, developers, sound engineers, producers, marketers, and the list goes on), we can begin to understand that perhaps there’s more to video games than we previously thought, and that maybe they’re not just the time waster we assumed they were.
Interested in learning more about a place where your child can learn to build video games?
If you’re curious about classes for kids in Westchester where kids learn to create and program their own video games, model 3D objects, create digital music, code robots, learn Java, Python, Java, and more, visit our website: TheDAE.com.
Learn more about classes, summer camps and workshops at The Digital Arts Experience. Visit us at 303 Central Park Ave. in Scarsdale or give us a call: 914-644-8100.