If you’re shopping for children this year for the holidays, you might not have to feel so guilty about buying them video games for presents. A review of research on video games found that there are actually several positive aspects of playing video games for children, according to a press release from the American Psychological Association.
“While one widely held view maintains playing video games is intellectually lazy, such play actually may strengthen a range of cognitive skills such as spatial navigation, reasoning, memory and perception,” according to the press release.(1)
And these positive skills can also be gleaned from violent shooter video games as well, the press release stated. In fact, shooter video games might provide some of the biggest benefits when it comes to spatial skills.
Other types of video games promote problem-solving skills.
“The more adolescents reported playing strategic video games, such as role-playing games, the more they improved in problem solving and school grades the following year,” according to a 2013 study mentioned in the press release.
When children play any type of video game, their creativity also blossoms. But this creativity seemed to be specific to video games, since the use of other technology like computers and cell phones did not impact creativity.
Video games can even affect children’s moods in a positive way.
“Simple games that are easy to access and can be played quickly, such as ‘Angry Birds,’ can improve players’ moods, promote relaxation and ward off anxiety,” according to a study referred to in the press release.
Children also might be able to learn resilience from video games. For example, if they fail in video games, they learn to try again and succeed, which can be applied in real life.
People who play video games are also not stereotypically isolated. They actually are part of a community, and many people play these games with friends.
“People who play video games, even if they are violent, that encourage cooperation are more likely to be helpful to others while gaming than those who play the same games competitively,” according to a study referred to in the press release.