Video Games: What Parents Should Know

video-game-atari2600Long gone are the days of the pixelated graphics once enjoyed by the video game phenomen known as Atari. The presentation of this futuristic gaming console brought upon a new fascination with game play. One step up from the board game, video games were the wave of the future as far as the “gaming” industry was concerned.

For years to come, children would sit with their eyes glued to the television set for hours on end only to get up for a bathroom break. It wasn’t until decades later, that the video game giants discovered the ability to get kids off their rears in an effort to create intereaction and movement. While parents enjoyed the distraction that video games provided, the amount of screen time the kids were using each day could easily become excessive. Concerns over time spent on video games is quite valid, yet there are many positives to game playing you should know about.

We’ve put together a list of everything you need to know about video games including ratings and benefits of play time.

We know what you’re thinking, “benefits of play time?” Here’s what you should know:

1. Video games help improve the motor skills of preschool aged children During a study in Australia, researchers found that preschoolers who played “interactive games” had better “object control motor skills” than those who didn’t.

2. Video games provide positive reinforcement Because games are designed for constant advancement through skill levels, children learn the value of failure in addition to that of success. When a player doesn’t advance a level the first time, they will try and try again to succeed.

3. Video games encourage strategic thinking Most video games are built around strategy allowing the player to creatively figure out how to achieve their goal. The game usually provides more that one scenario for players to choose from, giving the child the ability to compose their own strategy.

4. Video games improve hand-eye coordination It has been shown that patients who suffer from Parkinson’s Disease improved balance and coordination throw video game play.  Studies suggest that surgeons who frequently play video games make less mistakes while operating than non-gamers.  So next time your are searching for a good surgeon, be sure to ask if they play video games!GameSystems

5. Improves basic skills Words like ‘stop’, ‘ready’, and ‘go’ often appear on the screen and help to assist with basic reading skills. With score keepers visible, mathematical skills can improve as players are eager to increase their score and keep close eye on their progress.

6. Video games are therapeutic for children with chronic illnesses The University of Utah released a study which examined the effects of routinely played video games on children with illnesses such as autism and depression. Results showed signs of improvement in ‘resilience’, ’empowerment’, and a ‘fighting spirit.’ Additionally, researchers believe the games helped improve the childrens’ demeanors as they faced the challenges of their illnesses.

7. Video games provide pain relief As noted in number 6, video games are very helpful to the mind and the emotions, but Psychologists at the University of Washington discovered that physical pain could also be alleviated through the distraction of game play. With the development of a virtual reality game called “Snow World”, military hospitals observed that game play helped soldiers that were recovering from battlefield wounds. While playing “Snow World” the soldiers were able to use less pain medication.

8. Improve vision But wait, that’s not what Mom and Grandmom used to say! It was Dr. Daphen Maurer of the Visual Development Lab of Ontario’s McMaster University who found that playing video games could provide benefits to vision. In his study he discovered that people suffering from cataracts can improve their vision by playing first-person shooter games such as Call of Duty. Due to the fast-pace of the game, extra attention is required and helps those that are visually impaired to view more sharply.

9. Brings Families together With the introduction of active play consoles such as the Wii, families are bringing their screen time together for interactive family fun. With dancing games, sports games, and exercise games at their fingertips, the new generation of video game play also provides players with a new form of exercise and family gathering. The addition of board games on the screen has brought a whole new meaning to family game night.Family Game Night310. Social Skills Live play with people on the other side of the country provides even the shyest of the bunch to spread their social wings and meet new people via headsets.

Ratings

Assigned by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)

With some many ratings simply written off as letters on a video game case, it’s easy to become confused as to which game is suitable for certain ages and audiences. We’ve broken the list down to help you figure which games are right for you and your family.

Early ChildhoodEarly Childhood Suitable for young children

EveryoneEveryone Suitable for all ages and may contain cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.

 

Everyone 10+

Everyone 10+ Suitable for ages 10 and above. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.

   Teen

  Teen Generally suitable for ages 13 and above. May contain violence, suggestive themes, simulated gambling  crude humor, minimal blood, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

Mature

Mature Content for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

Adults Only Content suitable only for adults over the age of 18. Includes prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual Adults Onlycontent and/or gambling with real currency.

Rating PendingRating Pending Appears only in advertising, marketing and promotional materials in relation to a game that is not yet assigned a rating but expected to. Once a rating is assigned, it is replaced.

Photo Sources- Game Haven Classic, Amazon, ESRB

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