How Parents Can Use Video Games to Support Positive Childhood Development

If you’re like a lot of parents, you might try to prevent your children from playing too many video games because you’re worried about possible negative effects.

In fact, research has shown that gaming has cognitive benefits that can spur your child’s development in good ways. Psychology Today reveals that video games can improve mental processes like memory, attention span, decision-making, and spatial perception.

Given the advantages, it’s no wonder that many educational institutions are starting to incorporate gaming into their lesson plans. Horizon Columbus schools are dedicated to supporting kids and their parents in discovering new ways to learn. This educational guide explains how parents can help kids tap into the positive benefits of gaming.

Selecting video games that support positive development

While some video games can support positive cognitive development, not all are suitable for kids. As a parent, you want to keep your little ones away from particularly violent or graphic games with minimal educational value. Steer your child away from games like Grand Theft Auto and towards more kid-friendly options.

Wired offers a list of games that are both entertaining and educational. For example, Animal Jam was developed in collaboration with the National Geographic Society to teach kids about nature. Meanwhile, Prodigy helps little ones learn math. Other instructive games include World Rescue, Kerbal Space Program, Minecraft, and Valiant Hearts The Great War.

Fitness video games are another option. By encouraging activity, they help young people perfect skills like coordination and balance. The Gamer provides a guide to fitness video games including Beat Saber, Zumba World Party, and Ring Fit Adventure. There are even virtual reality fitness games, like Superhot VR, which won multiple awards.

Investing in technology to promote health gaming

To ensure uninterrupted gaming, make sure your home internet connection is up to the task. Your child will quickly get frustrated if their game is interrupted by buffering or pausing. Plus, if other people in the household are trying to use the internet while your child is gaming, they’ll be competing for bandwidth. Upgrade your internet plan as needed.

There are a few other technological investments you can make to ensure your child’s comfort while they’re gaming. For example, ChairsFX describes the health advantages of gaming chairs. With adjustable armrests and lumbar support, these ergonomic chairs are designed to minimize neck, shoulder, and back pain.

Finally, you can make gaming even more comfortable for your child by getting a good headset. This is useful for multiplayer games, allowing kids to communicate with other players. Look for a pair that’s suitable for kids. Verizon offers a diversity of models suitable for various price points.

Protecting your child with parental controls, screen time limits, and more

The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry recommends capping non-educational screen time at one hour on weekdays and three hours on weekends. The Mayo Clinic offers tips for placing healthy limits, such as putting hand-held devices out of sight and reach during “screen-free” hours.

Finally, you may want to protect your little one against the possible negative effects of video games by setting parental controls on your gaming devices. This can help you limit your child’s access to certain games or capacities, like in-game purchases. The Federal Trade Commission provides a guide to parents’ options for restricting gaming access.

Video games can benefit kids in many ways. As a parent, it’s up to you to ensure your child picks games with educational value. You can further support their gaming by investing in useful tech tools and protections. The above guide covers everything you need to know.