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Can gaming actually improve your kid’s development?

Being “into” digital gaming seems to have a stigma attached to it, at any age! For parents of young kids, it’s a nightmare of bad posture and poor vision. Those with slightly older kids quickly imagine gaming as a deterrent to playing sports and socialising. And of course, for parents of teenagers, the very mention of gaming brings up images of couch potatoes glued to a screen. But what if we told you there was another side to gaming? One that could actually have positive effects? Here are 6 ways in which games can have a good impact on your kids:

  • Video games teach problem-solving skills and creativity: Video games can help children's brain development. Games like Legend of Zelda teach them to search, negotiate, plan, and try different approaches to advance. And through "Modding," (i.e. customising game characters' appearance and skills) kids learn creative self-expression and new ways of highlighting personalities and interests.
  • Video games inspire interest in history and culture: The content of some games such as Age of Mythology, Civilization, and Age of Empires can encourage kids to read and to research subjects such as world history, geography, ancient cultures and international relations.
  • Video games help kids make friends: Kids see video games as a social activity, not an isolating one. Video games create a common ground for young kids to make friends; allow kids to hang out; and provide structured time with friends.
  • Video games let kids share the joy of competition: It's normal and healthy for kids, to compete with their peers for status and recognition. Video games are a safe place to express natural competitive urges, and can give children who aren't good at sports a chance to excel.
  • Video games give kids a chance to lead: When children play video games in groups, they often take turns leading and following, depending on who has specific skills needed in that game. Playing group games online helps kids gain leadership skills such as persuading and motivating others, and mediating disputes.
  • Video games provide an opportunity to teach: Surveys show that many kids played video games, in part, because they liked to teach others how to play. Some children gain status as the "go-to" kid who knows how to beat the toughest parts of a game. Teaching others builds social and communication skills, as well as patience.

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