Is online gaming beneficial for children

Is gaming beneficial for children or not! The topic has always been like opening a proverbial can of worms. Majority of the parents I know have the same opinion about gaming that it’s a waste of time, rots the brain and is possibly the reason for plague outbreak! Ok I may have gone overboard with the plague bit but it’s no secret that parents and educationist frowned upon gaming and all its types.

But such negative opinions are steadily changing now and in a way parents and educationists are directly responsible for it. The vehemence and vitriol displayed by parents led scientists and researchers to conduct in depth studies on gaming and its effect on children. Here’s an unbiased and impartial extract of their findings. For sake of clarity (and because I recently discovered how awesome comparisons look in tabular format) I am going to place the most potent objections raised on gaming side by side with findings of scientists:

Objections about gaming What research says about gaming
Online gaming makes children antisocial and hostile towards others On the contrary, researchers have found that online gaming fosters a sense of comradery and community in children. It makes them better at achieving tasks as a part of a team, teaches them how to work together in coordination.
Gaming especially online gaming can cause addiction Yes, it can! But so can a lot of other things we deem healthy. Moderation is the key to avoid addiction. Specify a time slot in the day for gaming preferably when all the school work has been taken care of.
Gaming makes children lethargic and slow Research has shown that gaming fine tunes motor functions, hand – eye coordination and spatial skills. A typical gaming session requires the player to follow and coordinate multiple activities on screen which requires sharp focus and multitasking. With the advent of VR games which actually require mimicking onscreen behavior a lot of physical activity is required.
Gaming rots the brain Gaming especially online gaming requires split second decision making and equally fast situational analysis. Simulation games are so accurately made nowadays that law enforcement agencies and even the military has made use of them for training their personnel.
Gaming is a waste of time Through gaming children learn a lot of important things while having fun such as reading on screen text to follow the storyline, quantitative skills to manage resources, solving puzzles that require mathematical skills and pattern recognition.

 

In light of the above demonizing gaming isn’t justified at all however parents need to moderate and control the time spent on gaming just like they would regulate playing time outside. Last but not least gaming has been falsely held responsible for inducing violent tendencies in children. This false accusation has been laid to rest recently by a research conducted by the University of York which couldn’t find any correlation between gaming and children becoming progressively violent. Here’s an extract directly from the report “”The findings suggest that there is no link between these kinds of realism in games and the kind of effects that video games are commonly thought to have on their players.”

 

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