Parenting involves making multiple daily decisions about how your children spend their time. From what extramurals they choose, to what toys they get for their birthdays, you want to give them the best chance to learn skills and develop positive pastimes they will keep for life.
With gaming on the rise in South Africa, you may have seen gaming consoles (such as a PlayStation) at other peoples’ houses and are wondering how it will impact your family and their leisure time. Should you be concerned about introducing a gaming console into your home? We don’t think so, because there are multiple benefits that come along with gaming. Here are some:
- Bonding time
What better way to bond than through shared experiences? After all, your child may not exactly bond with you over reciting their timestables, but do something funny in a game and watch the laughs roll in. You can even use these opportunities when they are relaxed, to discuss weightier topics too. While they may shrink away from talking about problems they’re having in the playground in a formal over-the-dinner-table conversation, gaming together gives them a more informal setting in which to raise issues with you.
- Imagination and creativity
Games give children the chance to live many lives. They can be a fighter pilot, a professional Judo star, a pop singer or a scientist. In our modern digital world, many children are struggling to find an identity and games give them the opportunity to role play and discover more about themselves, as they develop their imaginations.
In fact, a previous study at Michigan State University in the USA found that playing video games was linked to greater creativity in children, especially when drawing pictures and writing stories.
- Problem solving
Ashton Muller from Goliath Gaming notes that games require a level of engagement and decision making that mediums like books or movies simply do not provide. “Playing them often involves learning from past experiences, weighing up all the options, making a decision and then dealing with the consequences (within the game of course!). All this can be replicated in real life, and children learning these lessons through gaming will develop confidence, teamwork skills and autonomy that they can take out into the wider world,” Muller adds.
The current and future working worlds will need coders, developers, computer programmers and extremely tech-savvy individuals. Gaming is a way of encouraging these skills, with games such as Minecraft which requires creativity and strategic thinking, where key skills are learnt while achieving other tasks.
- Hand eye co-ordination
A study in the journal Psychological Science in 2016 proved that playing video games for a minimum of five hours a week, was directly linked to improved hand eye co-ordination. Things like playing the piano, riding bikes, or typing on a computer can all be improved through the repetitive and coordinated actions required during gaming.
Most of all, childhood should be about having fun. While we want our kids to learn, we also want to give them moments of sheer joy, where they create memories with their siblings and their parents. Games are as fun as they are educational, and in this pressured world where children are expected to strive and achieve 24 hours of the day, giving them time to game lets them know that it’s also okay to just relax and have fun.
Instead of hanging out with unsuitable people, your kids could be at home gaming in a secure and controlled environment. And you can keep them safe online too. In a recent software update, PlayStation introduced a range of parental control enhancements so you can easily control what each individual child plays, watches and views online.
Ultimately gaming opens up worlds of possibility for your children to grow, learn and engage with knowledge − and there are many additional benefits for adults too! Get a gaming console into your home and watch as the fun and happy memories multiply.