Video games often take the blame for many school shootings and other massacres due to their violence, but can video games actually teach kids important life skills? Video games captivate the attention of many children, even those who have trouble paying attention in class. The video games children play may sound extremely uneducational, but they’re secretly teaching them important life skills that they’d otherwise have difficulty learning in schools. Skills like reading, problem-solving, decision-making, creativity, and social skills are the most vital skills used in daily life. All of these skills, however, can be taught through playing video games. Video games aren’t really as bad as we perceive them to be and can be used to teach or improve valuable skills. So, how can you actually learn from playing video games?Reading, one of life’s most important skills.
This is one skill that video games can teach you. Games like Animal Crossing and Pokemon can teach or improve reading skills by presenting the player with on-screen text that they have to read in order to understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Gamers become so enthralled by the game’s story that they don’t even know they’re reading far beyond their usual reading level.
Not only do games encourage reading through actual gameplay, but most games actually encourage reading off-game. In fact, a study conducted by Pew Internet Research found that “more than one third of gamers regularly read game-related texts as part of their gameplay, including game reviews, strategy websites, fan fiction, and forum discussions,” (splash.abc.net.au).
This means that gamers are encouraged to read about the games that their interested in, even if they usually hate reading. Reading is the most important skill in life and video games can teach or improve this skill even for people who hate reading. So, how can someone learn problem-solving skills from playing a video game?Problem-solving is a much-needed skill that teens will use everyday. Thankfully, this skill is taught in many games. Examples of games that incorporate this skill into their basic gameplay are Crash Bandicoot, Skylanders, and Portal. Games like these present the player with challenging puzzles that must be solved in order to progress through the game. Kids will continuously attempt to solve these difficult puzzles because they are so absorbed in the game .
Actually, studies conducted by the North Carolina State University and Florida State University show that “mainstream games geared towards entertainment can help improve spatial orientation and problem-solving abilities,” (businessinsider.com).This means that the games that kids play in their recreational time not only give them a break from hard school work, but they also improve their problem-solving skills as well.
Problem-solving skills are used everyday and it’s an important skill that video games can improve. Decision-making is also another very important skill that gaming somehow manages to teach. Decision-making is yet another life-saving skill that everyone needs. Games like Minecraft:Story Mode or The Walking Dead, teach their players vital decision-making skills by giving them a confrontation and allowing the player to answer within a certain amount of time.
The University of Rochester actually conducted a study on this and the results found that “playing action video games train people to make the right decision faster,” (rochester.edu). So some of the most popular games can actually improve an important skill, such as decision-making. Decision making is a very important skill to have, specially when you have to make decisions under intense pressure, and its very reassuring to know that kids can learn this through video games.
Creativity is another important skill, so how can this be taught through gaming?Creativity, believe it or not, is a very important skill to have. Many people use creativity daily, whether there is an important paper or a design for a project. Many games teach teens about the limitless possibilities that creativity brings and makes them actually want to incorporate it into their daily lives. Games like Minecraft or Little Big Planet allow gamers to create their own creatures, structures, or even worlds thus unlocking their hidden potential. A study conducted by Michigan State University found that “the more kids play video games, the more creative they were in tasks such as drawing pictures or writing stories,” (msutoday.msu.
edu). This means that more an more teens are discovering their creative potential just by picking up a controller. Creativity is a very useful skill to have and video games inspire teens to express their talents everyday. Social interaction though is one of the most important skills to have, so how does gaming tie in to this? Although people often picture gamers as isolated people, games can actually improve social skills. Games like Dead Island or Roblox encourage gamers to play amongst other players in order to accomplish a common goal. Actually, studies conducted by the American Psychological Association conclude that “people who play video games, even if they are violent, that encourage cooperation are more likely to be more helpful than those who don’t play video games at all,” (apa.org). This means that gamers use the cooperational skills that they develop, while defeating a boss with other players, in the real world.
Being able to socialize with others is definitely important and most games strongly encourage socialization. Games teach many important life skills to kids, but is there a downside to gaming?Some experts claim that “gaming addiction” is a problem for many gamers around the world. Keith Bakker states that “the more we look at it, the more we saw that gaming was taking over the lives of kids,” (webmd.com). Experts claim that people are becoming dependent on their video games, just like any other addictive substance. Not to mention, kids can potentially lose sleep or stop eating while trying to beat their games. Unlike other addictive substances, video games weren’t created to be addicting.
Actually, Most video games were only created for entertainment purposes, so the only one who is at fault for depending on video games is the gamer themself. Experts suggest regulating the amount of time spent gaming to only a couple hours a day. There is a downside to gaming but when used appropriately, gaming can be used as a great learning tool.
Not only do games teach important life skills, but they teach it in a way that makes learning fun. Even those who hate learning can sit in front of a video game and play for hours. Reading, problem-solving, decision-making, creativity, social skills, everything you need to use everyday can be found in a game. Although gaming can cause potential problems, these problems can all be solved by regulating the time spent on video games to only a couple hours.
Gaming is really a great way to teach kids about the skills they’ll need forever.