Families and the World of Gaming
Mon, April 19, 2021

Families and the World of Gaming

Contrary to popular belief, gaming is not just an addictive black hole that eats up all our time and hard-earned money. Recent research has found that gaming has numerous benefits for the development of cognitive skills, not only in children, but also in adults / Photo by: Dean Drobot via 123RF

 

Contrary to popular belief, gaming is not just an addictive black hole that eats up all our time and hard-earned money. Recent research has found that gaming has numerous benefits for the development of cognitive skills, not only in children, but also in adults. 

Similar to how physical exercise can help improve and strengthen your muscles, gaming helps indulge one’s brain in constant thinking and simulation, improving the brain’s performance. 

By The Numbers: Profile of Gamers

Playing video games is common in most households today, with players being a mix of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. 

The Entertainment Software Association pegs the average age for gamers at 33 years old, with 35% of adults playing mobile games and even more playing video games on their consoles, according to a 2006 survey. This shows that the generation of kids that grew up playing the first video games are still playing video games today. More than this, it is likely that these adults have their own kids, are not willing to completely drop video gaming, and play these games with their children.

According to the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan organization that conducts public opinion polling to identify trends shaping America, AOL Games and the Associated Press learned that there are a significant number of parents who report spending more than 1 hour a week playing video games with their children, with 43% saying that they don’t play video games with their kids at all. Of these, 30% spend less than an hour a week playing video games with their children, and around 27% spend less than an hour a week playing video games with their kids. 

Benefits of Gaming

Gaming as a whole has its positives and negatives. But playing with children has been said to bring about numerous benefits when the approach for playing is in moderation. Some games might improve kids’ hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills, with games requiring physical movement even beneficial to sedentary kids - of course not as much compared to participation in actual sports.

Kids are not merely staring into an empty screen, but are encouraged to use their minds with a combination of audial, visual, and physical movement. Games involving problem solving help children develop those same skills, especially when complicated rules in games exist. This means that the players think carefully before any movement, making split-second decisions. More than this, gaming can improve their memory, attention, and concentration. As players progress through a game, they’d need to carefully listen to instructions, objectives, or quests.

Attitude Towards Video Games

As gaming has gained more exposure and a wider audience, it has also increasingly become part of mainstream culture. While certain games have their own benefits, not everyone believes they do.

A Pew Research Center survey showed that 26% of adults think that video gaming is a waste of time, with 33% of respondents saying that this is true for some games and not others, 24% believing that gaming isn't a waste of time, and 16% being unsure. The study also found that 28% of those who believe it is a waste of time are Whites, 32% are those ages 65 or older, and 27% with at least a high school diploma.

Among most of the adults, 23% think that video gaming does not promote teamwork and communication, while 37% believe this is only true in some games and not others. It was found that men and younger adults were most likely to believe these video games promote those qualities with 17% aged 18 to 29 and 9% aged 30 and older, alongside 12% or men versus 9% of women. Moreover, 25% of those who play games think that video games help develop problem-solving and strategic thinking skills, compared to 8% who do not play with men more likely to think of this positive benefit than women, 28% versus 22%. In addition, 17% of those who play games say that this is a better form of entertainment than watching television compared to 5% of non-gamers who say the same. In the same way, 23% of men are more likely than women to say that gaming is a better form of entertainment compared to 10% of women, with 31% aged 18 to 29.

While the public is largely unsure how to think about video games and how to regard its effect on children due to minimal research and definitive data on its benefits, there is some consensus depending on who plays games and who don't. Naturally, compared to those who do not play video games, gamers tend to agree with positive depictions of gaming. They, namely men and young adults, are more likely to respond positively and support the benefits of gaming, thereby condoning gameplay among both children and adults.

As gaming has gained more exposure and a wider audience, it has also increasingly become part of mainstream culture. While certain games have their own benefits, not everyone believes they do / Photo by: Saksit Kuson via 123RF