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Video Games: Pros and Cons

Updated: Jul 25, 2022


If your child has a computer or gaming console, you may be wondering whether or not it was a wise purchase. Fortunately, there are ways to balance your child’s happiness with their health. Here are some of the advantages and downsides of playing video games.

The Benefits of Playing Video Games

Playing video games can have a surprising variety of benefits for kids, as long as the games are age appropriate and your child is safe from cyberbullies or potential online predators. The best games offer at least some educational material or real-life skill-building elements. Some of the positive things your child can gain from playing high-quality video games include:


  • Improved hand-eye coordination

  • Enhanced creative thinking and problem-solving skills, especially in games that involve puzzles

  • Ability to process information efficiently

  • Faster reflexes and reaction time, particularly in racing or action-oriented games

  • Slightly improved reading skills (since players must follow instructions and may encounter other important textual material in the game)

  • Improved visual-spatial skills (such as those necessary for navigating levels or worlds, or finding their way out of a maze)

  • Unintentional learning about real-world subjects that may be portrayed in some of the more educational games, such as history and engineering

  • Improved mood management and mental well-being because of the sense of control and accomplishment video games provide, especially when played with friends

  • Quality time with family, if everyone plays together

The Negatives of Playing Video Games

Whether playing video games is good or bad can be as much a question of moderation as it is game content. If your child spends excessive amounts of time playing any video game—to the extent that they are neglecting other important parts of their lives—it can be harmful for their brains, bodies, and social lives. Spending too much time playing video games can:


  • Lead to weight gain and obesity

  • Contribute to a shorter attention span

  • Involve excessive exposure to harmful themes and gameplay that promote violence, crime, bullying, racism, sexism, or misogyny

  • Be detrimental to your child’s social life

  • Cause kids to read less, fall behind on schoolwork, and earn poor grades

  • Reduce the amount and quality of sleep children get

  • Contribute to aggressive behavior

Teach Kids Healthy Tech Use With Net Positive

The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Utah County is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens and leaders. We accomplish this by providing evidence-based programs with a focus on those that improve academic engagement, build character, and that improve healthy behaviors.


Our Net Positive Program educates K-12 students about digital safety, health, citizenship and leadership. After participating in our program, students are 97% better prepared to face internet dangers. Contact us to learn more and ask your school to schedule a Net Positive Presentation, or support us with your donation today!


References

Belsky, G. (2022, July 7). Six Benefits of Video Games for Kids. Understood. Retrieved July 22, 2022, from https://www.understood.org/en/articles/surprising-benefits-of-video-games

Danylova, A. (2020, May 30). Gender Struggles: Female Representation in Video Games. INKspire. Retrieved July 22, 2022, from https://inkspire.org/post/gender-struggles-female-representation-in-video-games/-M7d51VKbu2OSfnfQ9am

Healthy Limits on Video Games. (2021, August 13). Child Mind Institute. Retrieved July 22, 2022, from https://childmind.org/article/healthy-limits-on-video-games/#:~:text=2.%20Put%20clear,non%2Dscreentime%20activities

Kowert, R. (2021, June 2). Unspoken Benefits of Video Game Play. Entertainment Software Rating Board. Retrieved July 22, 2022, from https://www.esrb.org/blog/unspoken-benefits-of-video-game-play/#:~:text=Players%20can%20also,(Everyone%2010%2B

Video Games and Children: Playing with Violence. (2022). American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Retrieved July 22, 2022, from https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-and-Video-Games-Playing-with-Violence-091.aspx#:~:text=They%20may%20resist,thoughts%20and%20behaviors

Video Games Your Child Plays Has an Effect on Their Behavior, The. (2021, August 9). University of Utah Health. Retrieved July 22, 2022, fromhttps://healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php?shows=0_rfmd6ynh#:~:text=While%20some%20games,and%20Mortal%20Kombat


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