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New Studies Show Video Games can Help Kids Learn

After years of pointing an accusing finger at video games and their negative affects on kids, some new studies have come out with some positive news for parents.  Yes, the violent games out there still exist and they can still have a negative impact on your child, but these new studies have shown that with the right games your child can actually learn valuable life skills and a variety of other interesting and unexpected benefits.  As with all things with your child’s development, involvement and monitoring are strongly encouraged to ensure they’re not being exposed to the wrong influences and that their consumption of any one thing is done in moderation.

Having said that, the good news for youngsters is that games that require children to help out or come to the aid of others in a nonviolent way have a positive impact on your little one’s mind.  This has actually been seen through their actions and in testing post game playing.  Games with characters that helped one another in a non-hostile environment actually encouraged kids to be more cooperative and compassionate with a greater increase in wanting to help and share with other children and prompted fewer thoughts of violence or hostility and aggressive actions in addition to a lower acceptance level of violent behavior.  So far so good,right?  Well, read on.  It gets better.

In addition to aiding in the development of important social skills, add to the list motor skills, cognitive function, reasoning, multitasking and perceptual skills.  Cognitive function skills can be improved through computer games for the simple reason that players have to pay attention to the entire screen all at once in order to be successful in their mission to stay alive with everything coming at them.  They need to be able to react quickly and with greater precision.

A 2008 study showed that individuals that regularly played video games were able to count 50 percent more items visually presented in rapid succession than those who didn’t play them.  Another benefit was superior processing of information skills.  They were also able to switch between tasks with greater ease.

What this means is that your child or teen’s abilities to problem solve and tactically plan might be significantly improving over time by trying to figure out how to off that mutant zombie that’s stalking him or her in one of their favorite games.  When you think about it, all of these very same skills of planning, quick reactions and problem solving are actually the very skills that might help to make safer teen drivers.  Bet you never saw that one coming, but it’s true.

If this all seems to be a bit of a stretch to you, consider the following:  A recently conducted study found that surgeons in laparoscopy that were also gamers are a whopping 27 percent quicker in the performance of advanced surgeries with an astounding 37 percent lower risk of committing errors than non-gaming surgeons.  How’s that for impressive?

Further findings confirm that playing video games can also improve such things as scientific reasoning for the very reason that in such games as WoW and others similar to it that have discussion boards where multiple players can openly discuss their elaborate strategies, it creates a thinking environment where tactical and reasoning skills are being shared and learned through the actual playing of the game.

And as if all of this weren’t enough, it’s been determined that computer games are gaining acceptance as a pain management tool.  Yup, you read right. Before you nix the idea altogether, think about it.  It totally makes sense.  Anytime you’re distracted from any source of pain no matter where it may be emanating from — unless, of course it’s mind-numbingly blinding pain that’s unfathomable — you tend to think about it less and notice its intensity less.  So there you have it.  Being a gamer might not be so bad for you after all.


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