Dr Bex Lewis shares the benefits to children of playing computer games…
Taking time to play games with your children increases communication opportunities, and can help to increase confidence in your children. It may be easier to spot when something is going wrong with your child. Working with your children gives you an opportunity to encourage them to think critically about their own behaviour, how it affects others and what they choose to engage with.
Other parents will appreciate it if you set some boundaries for the games that your children play, as they will feel more confident to do the same with their own. This could be a maximum of one hour each weekday, two hours at weekends, and nothing until homework or housework is finished.
Parents have noted that their children have gained social skills in interaction with other gamers from around the world. Other skills include collaboration, team and leadership skills, increased reactions, and coding and designing new game levels. Children have gained skills in creativity and patience in creating a character and playing consistently for several months, learning perseverance to finish what has been started.
Children who play games for an average of two hours per day have a wider circle of friends, do more physical activity and do more homework than others, although those who spend more time than that demonstrate less fitness and more social isolation. With certain games, children get to try out things that they can’t do ‘for real’, allowing opportunities for identity experimentation in a relatively safe space.
Dr Bex Lewis is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Director of Social Media Consultancy Digital Fingerprint. She is the author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst, published by Lion Hudson in 2014.