Guest post: The benefits of computer games for your children

Computer games get somewhat of a bad reputation. They’re apparently the reason your children are glued to the TV, are antisocial and are now grotesquely obese. Whilst letting your children play nothing but computer games probably isn’t the best idea, there are plenty of ways they can actually benefit your children.

Here’s how…

They can improve hand-eye coordination

Translating what they see on the screen to movements in their hands on a controller and back again can help to improve your child’s hand-eye co-ordination. They have to react to what’s happening on the screen which might be something fast-paced and frenetic, which encourages them to think and move quicker in response.

They can help your children keep fit

Now this may sound like somewhat of an oxymoron but computer games can actually play a part in keeping fit. We’re specifically talking about the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Kinect for Xbox which use motion controls and actually involve getting up on your feet and moving around. There are plenty of sports games available for these consoles that will have your children running, jumping, ducking and dodging, all the while burning calories.

They can promote teamwork

Whilst a lot of computer games are solitary experiences, there are plenty of games that promote teamwork between siblings or friends. Games such as Minecraft encourage players to work together to explore areas, fight enemies and build things, and hopefully this teamwork is something that they can take with them as they get older. Many games nowadays also have online co-op and multiplayer, which means even if your children aren’t physically with their friends or siblings, they can still play against people from all over the world.
They can be educational

Not all games involve killing people, racing cars or playing sports; there are plenty of games that can actually be educational and teach your children (or even you) about various topics. For example, a game called Valiant Hearts is set in World War 1 (you don’t kill people in it) and teaches you about the war as you play.

They’re a good mental stimulus

If your children are sat watching TV then they’ve probably zoned out and aren’t really thinking about what they’re watching. We adults are the same. However, when playing computer games, their brains are much more active and involved in what’s happening on the screen. They’re constantly having to think about what they’re doing, keeping their brain active. Games such as Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training on the Nintendo DS or the hundreds of puzzle games available on tablets actually help to keep the brain active through math games and questions. Even just a few minutes a day playing games such as these can have a positive effect in the long run.

Again, it’s not a great idea to have your kids constantly sat in front of a computer, but they can have their benefits, and with the new generation of games consoles (available from Hi Spek and other various websites and shops) there are always new ways that computer games can help engage the brain and provide positive stimuli.