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Let the Games Begin! The Benefits of Video Games

Benefits of Video GamesI can hear it playing in the background; the droning sound of video games.  Sometimes it’s the sound of Minecraft.  On other occasions, it’s Battlefield.  Being an educator, I often question if it is good for my son to spend so much time playing video games. To put my parental mind at ease, I have him read for at least 30 minutes before allowing him the privilege of hopping on the gaming console. I’m sure that I’m not the only parent constantly questioning the benefits of video games, so I decided to research and outline what I have discovered.

Below I have listed four ways that video games can be educational.

  1. Planning and resource management:  In many games, players are given a limited amount of resources, and they must use them wisely.  For instance, in any of the Sims games, the player must make sure that their Sim is taken care of.  That they have enough food, water, a well-paying job, and housing.  This requires quite a bit of planning and resource management.
  2. Problem solving:  In Angry Birds and Tetris, players need to use their problem solving skills to advance to the next level.  In Angry Birds, it would be the angle of the bird and the trajectory towards the objects.  In Tetris, the goal is to fit pieces together.  Games such as these challenge the player to solve puzzles that get increasingly more difficult with each new level.
  3. Developing Reading Skills:  I bet you’re wondering how in the world video games could possibly help develop reading skills.  Well, on many different video games there are instructions online to help make it through the different levels.  So, as my son does, gamers will go to the computer to read up on how to make it through a difficult stage in the game.  They tote around these in-depth notes and share them with friends.  Oh, and did I mention the instruction booklets that come with each game? They require reading, too.
  4. Mapping:  In various team games where you play against opponents, there are maps that show you where you are and help you move around the level.  Players have to multi-task and keep track of where they are, where their opponents are, and move around the playing field while using a map.

These are only a few ways that video gaming can help broaden the mind.  Does that mean I would rather have my son play a video game over reading?  Absolutely not!  However, playing in moderation can be beneficial.

We at Sylvan understand the pull that technology has on our youth.  That is why we have instruction that is delivered on iPads.  It is a fantastic way to keep our students engaged while they are learning valuable skills.  Contact us to find out more, or better yet, give us a call at 717.723.8939!