Gaming Write For Us – Many parents are suspicious of video consoles and do not want to watch them at home for fear that they will harm their children’s school performance. However, the benefits of video games include the development of skills such as attention, creativity, memory, languages and teamwork.
Video games facilitate the learning of educational content and the development of cognitive skills.
Lara Croft doesn’t know it, but her legendary adventures on the PlayStation have done more for archeology than many textbooks. In addition to the protagonist of the Tomb Raider saga, there are countless video game characters who, although it may not seem like it, awaken early vocations and teach history, geography or mathematics to millions of schoolchildren and adults around the world. Who said that video consoles do not cultivate the intellect?
THE IMPORTANCE OF VIDEO GAMES IN SOCIETY
The video game industry has long since lost its innocence. Today it is a mature sector admired for its technological muscle, its innovative capacity and its privileged business vision. The numbers do not lie: it will close 2019 with global revenues of more than 150,000 million dollars and a year-on-year growth of 9.6%, according to the market intelligence company Newzoo.
With these figures it is normal for video games to dominate audiovisual entertainment, well ahead of music and cinema. Not even Hollywood has been able to beat a rival that has 2,500 million players in the world and, specifically, hits like Fortnite with 139 million active users. The fever for this video game crosses borders and is already worrying a giant like Netflix more than Disney and HBO, its direct competitors in the battle to lead streaming audiovisual content .
LAS CLAVES DEL ‘GAME-BASED LEARNING’
The benefits of video games have also reached teaching with game-based learning or learning based on electronic games. This educational method uses the best of video games to transmit knowledge to students and is based on three key points:
- Streamline education: they transform learning into a fun, exciting game without boring classes. This makes students assimilate and retain the content almost without realizing it.
- Increase motivation: make students the protagonists of the story and reward their effort with medals, extra lives, bonuses, etc. This is how they capture and maintain their interest in learning.
- Facilitates practice: they allow the acquired knowledge to be applied without creating dangerous situations. This is the task, for example, of aviation and navigation simulators.
VIDEO GAMES FOR LEARNING: THE ‘SERIOUS GAMES’
Within game-based learning there are some educational video games known as serious games . The purpose of this specific segment for teaching is to train students in specific subjects, language learning or the training of professionals such as police officers, pilots, firefighters or health personnel, among others. Educational video games constitute a booming global market that expects to enter 17,000 million dollars in 2023 —485% more than in 2018—, as published by the Statista portal. However, here we review some of them:
- Dragon Box brings a discipline like geometry closer to the little ones.
- Extreme Event prepares to face natural disasters and encourages collaborative work.
- Pacific serves to train leadership and team running.
- Spore is useful for teaching biology, definitely the evolution of living things.
- Duolingo promotes the learning of languages such as English, French or German.
- Blood Typing, developed by the Swedish Academy, educates about blood types and transfusions.
THE BENEFITS OF PLAYING VIDEO GAMES
The effect of video games on society has made them an object of study. However, for example, Andrew Przybylski, a psychologist at the Oxford University Internet Institute, already in 2014 published a study in the journal Pediatrics in which he established how many hours children should spend playing video games. His conclusion was that those who played for less than an hour were more ardently stable, while those who played for around three hours developed problems socializing. Therefore, in moderation, video games, in addition to improving learning, promote another series of benefits. Here we review some of them:
According to the University of Rochester, they speed up the ability to deal with the unexpected by raising problems and setting a time to solve them.
They encourage teamwork
According to the Californian Institute for the Future (IFTF), games with several players with a common objective reinforce the ability to solve problems collaboratively.
They stimulate creativity, attention and visual memory
The University of California ensures that they encourage these aspects by posing challenges that force concentration, use of imagination and remember details to solve them.
Improve strategy and leadership
Video games put their protagonists in command situations, improving their ability to resolve conflicts, direct other characters and make decisions according to the University of Pittsburgh.
They teach languages
According to the University of Helsinki, they facilitate the learning of other languages through instructions on the screen, chats to communicate with other players or the story itself.
They promote critical thinking
The Tecnológico de Monterrey highlighted in an article the ethical, philosophical and social background of these games and their ability to make players reflect and improve their critical thinking .
THE ROLE OF PARENTS REGARDING VIDEO GAMES
Despite this, video games continue to generate suspicion among parents. Moreover, and it has some foundation: the World Health Organization (WHO) included addiction to video games (Gaming Disorder) in the International Classification of Diseases in 2019. When introducing children to video games, it is advisable to take into account, first of all, aspects such as the PEGI system —or its equivalent in the United States: ESRB—, which guides parents on the convenience or otherwise of certain games by starting a recommended age of use.
The popular science magazine Psychology Today offers a series of tips for parents:
- Check the content of the games. Moreover, parents should have control over the type of video games their children spend time on. Opt for the educational ones instead of the violent ones.
- Promote the use of collaborative video games. When children play together with others they socialize and establish alliances. Avoid turning this type of leisure into a solitary activity.
- Set time limits. You have to set rules. For example: they can play for a couple of hours after they have done their homework, not before.
- Follow the recommendations of video game manufacturers. For example: don’t sit close to the screen, play in a brightly lit room, don’t play with maximum brightness, etc.
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