I have a new video blog (below) on the benefits of playing video games. I’ve been blogging about the issue of whether video game violence causes children and adolescents to become violent in multiple parts, as this is a big topic. Now, I grew up a gamer and still play video games (when I can squeeze in the time!). I’m not here to vilify video games…I just want to get to the bottom of this important issue. As a parent of 3 boys, I definitely have my concerns about gaming as well. But there are many benefits of gaming, and I touch on some of them here. This is a HUGE topic in and of itself, so I will revisit it soon and elaborate some of my points.
One thing I wish I had mentioned (I don’t rehearse these video blogs, and this one I did in one take, much of the top of my head) is that Minecraft is a great example of a game that fosters creativity. Virtually every kid/teen boy I run into plays this game (I’m sure many men, girls, and women do as well). My two older boys (ages 6 & 9), plus many of their classmates and neighborhood friends, play this game a lot. There’s a huge, open-ended environment that allows players to “craft” tools, armor, weapons, castles and so on. It’s non-linear, there are many ways to play it (creative and survival modes, for instance) as well as many “mods” (plug-ins made by the Minecraft community) that allow players to further adjust their game play in innovative ways. The graphics are very rudimentary (in a charming, retro way) and the violence is not the basis of the game and is not graphic.
On a different note, I just read an article referencing a journal publication on how action video games can improve reading skills and might help remediate dyslexia to some extent because of improvements to visual attention. Now, a lot more research still needs to be done, but it just goes to show their are endless ways that video games can be used to improve lives and bring out the best in us…at least at times. I guess the bottom line is that if one is to say video games can be “bad” for kids/teens in ways because of their content, the way they effect the brain, emotions, etc., then one can say they can be used to influence us in positive ways as well. With judicious “use” of video games, we can reap the many benefits they can provide and avoid the potential negatives.
Now, here’s that video!