Many parents may rightfully wonder why video games are good for children; despite their explosive popularity in becoming an industry that is worth billions of dollars every year, this audience comes at the expense of numerous possible issues and controversies, including gameplay depictions of violence, questionable effects on child psychology, the consequences on attention span and further mental metrics, and other potential concerns. Fortunately, video games are not completely evil, and with the right title choices used in moderation, can actually provide some benefits to children that play them.
The most brutally simple benefit for gaming children is the enjoyment they have during play. As elementary as this may seem, one of the reasons why video games are good for children is that they are fun, and are a part of play, which is an essential component to healthy development even into their formative teenage years. Elements of play such as friendly competition, reward by merit, accepting defeat, and other items provide a harmless sample of life lessons they will later encounter is less forgiving forms.
While some may present a compelling case as to the potentially harmful effects of video games, many of those consequences are inextricably linked to either specific poor gaming choices or addiction resulting in overplay. When participating in sound gaming choices and in appropriate moderation, one of the reasons why video games are good for children is the many mental health benefits derived: Increases in reaction time, problem-solving skills, hand-eye coordination, reading comprehension, pattern recognition, and other relevant intellectual benchmarks can all result from playing video games.
Whether in online play, multiple players at the same consoles, or even just the discussions that emerge from a shared interest in gaming, one component of why video games are good for children is their ability to bring people together for a social experience. Parents and other influential figures should be careful, though, as video games also have the capacity to isolate, as any other potentially addicting activity does. Gameplay should be encouraged when it results in making new friends, tackling challenges in cooperative situations, and forming new understandings into teamwork and group brainstorming.
Though the debate will likely still continue as to why video games are good for children or bad for them, the evidence indicates that, much like many other available tools and forms of entertainment, responsible use is key to turning potential consequences into real-life benefits. Wise parenting in tandem with high-quality gaming choices can pay great long-term dividends for developing children.