“More gaming is good for kids.” Said no parent ever. Except there just might be some epic benefits to letting your kids indulge in more epic video game wins.
According to game designer Jane McGonigal and her research at the Institute for the Future, the more time kids spend saving worlds online, the more able they are to do it in real life as well.
In a study by Carnegie Mellon, kids who are brought up in countries with strong gaming cultures will on average spend 10,000 hours playing games by the age of 21. 10,800 hours is the number of hours kids spend in class from 5th grade to high school graduation. So children living in the digital age are getting an entire other education. They are spending as much time learning to be a good gamer as they are learning about all school subjects combined. Whoa. But before you go pulling the plug on their consoles, let’s go back to McGonigal’s research to find out exactly what kids are getting good at when gaming.
In her TED Talk “Gaming can Make a Better World”, Jane shared what kids who game are developing:
- Urgent Optimism: Kids who game tend to be optimistic about challenges and waste no time jumping in. No matter the size of the dragon, they jump in and hit start immediately. Gamers don’t sit around; they have a sense of urgency about ‘world’ problems.
- Weave Tight Social Fabric: Most modern games allow for team play whether in the same room or online. Collaborating on missions and working together towards common goals builds bonds and cooperative skills. Kids who game develop important social skills contrary to what we might think when seeing our kids zone out alone at home in front of screens.
- Blissful Productivity: Kids are happier when working at something than when just relaxing without focus. Kids who game derive a sense accomplishment from gaming as well as disciplined work ethic and focus.
- Epic Meaning: Being a part of fantastic grand missions gives kids confidence and a sense of purpose.
Kinda makes you wanna plug that console back in and issue a little more screen time, right?!
Turns out, all time that kids spend seemingly zoned out in front of screens are them actually “evolving to be a more collaborative and hearty species.” says McGonigal.
When kids game they feel hopeful against the biggest obstacles, they focus hard. They work well with their peers – who readily trust them to save worlds. That confidence and those beliefs we know are what results in epic life wins.
So, as the great Wayne of Wayne’s World once said. “GAME ON!”
Image: Samantha Sophia | Unsplash