Do you remember your childhood and how you used to spend your time? Does the mention of hopscotch, hide and seek, and tongue-twister take you down the memory lane when everything was rainbows and unicorns?
Ahh… the good old times before technology took over our lives and we got engulfed in screens. Our lives have changed drastically since the invasion of technology.
Our kids don’t like the sunshine anymore; they would rather spend time in front of their screens binge-watching the latest show or defeating their arch-nemesis in their favorite video game.
How games help kids.
Our children’s habits may seem annoying to us, but they really can’t help it because they have been born with technology in their hands. And even though their lifestyle may appear different than what we saw, it might not be as harmful as we may perceive it to be.
Thus, we are here to share an unpopular opinion that video games can prove to be quite helpful for your kids. You may have a typical image of a gamer in your mind – living in their parent’s basement, without a job, addicted to gaming.
However, when it comes to video games, not everything is as bleak as it may seem. Though addiction to video games is real, but they have some positive impact on children too. According to Science Daily, 90% of gamers do not play in a way that causes long-term adverse consequences.
Video games are linked explicitly to enhanced creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. Here is how playing video game lights the creative spark in your kids:
Creativity comes from chaos
A study conducted at the Michigan University on 491 twelve-years-old children concluded that as kids spend more time playing video games, their creativity in tasks such as drawing pictures increases.
Mind you, though; this is just correlation and not causation. Hence, it could also be true that kids who are creative in the first place are attracted to video games.
Nonetheless, Steven Johnson, the author of the book, “Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter,” strongly advocates that video games increase brain power.
In his TED talk, ‘Where do good ideas come from?’ he said that his creative ideas took birth amidst chaos when he was focused on something else. He equates video gaming to 17th-century coffeehouses where ideas were generated.
Take the example of the game ‘Arty Mouse – Build Me’ by Unlimited Gamez Mo. The game improves the creative skills of kids by letting them draw different animals as per their likings. Such creative liberty allows kids to test different ideas and gives them a chance to explore fantasies.
Infusion of creativity with decision making
Creativity is not just limited to art; it also refers to how you make decisions. A creative mind can come up with solutions that an average mind cannot even fathom.
Video games have an essential part to play in improving decision-making skills. Research supports the theory that kids who play video games make quicker and more efficient decisions as compared to non-gamers.
Numerous researchers have compared the decision-making skills of gamers with that of non-gamers. Gamers were asked to play action video games such as Halo and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for 5 hours every week for a year before the experiment.
The 11 gamers performed better than the 12 non-gamers. Moreover, non-gamers also made informed decisions after they were forced to play action games such as Unreal Tournament 2004 for 50 hours.
Impulsivity fuels creativity
Gamers are known to be quite impulsive, a trait that comes with a strong negative connotation attached to it. Being impulsive is considered a bad quality, but there are two kinds of impulsivity: dysfunctional and functional. While dysfunctional impulsivity has detrimental consequences, functional impulsivity gives birth to creativity.
Impulsivity is also related to enthusiasm and positivity, which allows people to grab an opportunity as soon as it presents itself. Impulsive individuals are thus better entrepreneurs because they tend to get fixated with an idea and more likely to take the plunge despite uncertain circumstances.
Impulsive individuals don’t think like others as they are free from inhibitions. Take the example of Airbnb. Airbnb is a product of creativity, impulsiveness, and resilience.
When Brian Chesky, the CEO of Airbnb, came up with the idea, nobody was willing to invest in it. The whole idea that somebody would pay rent to take a room in a stranger’s house seemed crazy, but today Airbnb is a blessing for most travelers.
Enhanced Visual-Spatial competencies
Visual-spatial skill is our ability to imagine the rotation of an object, whether regular or irregular. It also refers to the ability to perceive spatial relations between objects.
According to a study published in the Journal of Psychological Science, spatial skills are a strong indicator of creativity, and video games help enhance these skills.
Many researchers have used Tetris, a video game, to train students for spatial skills. Research has also found out that playing video games lead to quicker learning of new tasks in a highly motivating environment.
Moreover, the positive effects of gaming have also been found in other domains of spatial skills such as selective attention in space, which is the ability to ignore distractions and select relevant information.
Video games have always been considered notorious, and parents often struggle to send their kids outside and detach them from their screens. Considering that video games can have some benefits, parents should relax a bit and let their kids explore the world of fantasy.
However, excess of anything is harmful, and the same is the case with video games. If you see your child is getting obsessed with video games to a level that it affects other aspects of their life, then you need to take some action. The key is to strike a balance between gaming and other activities.