Game On! How Video Games Can Help Your Child Learn

Parents are often warned not to let their children spend too many hours in front of their TV or computer screen. We hear that video games will isolate our children, make them aggressive, or simply “fry their brains.” However, recent research has proven that playing video games can actually improve your child’s social and cognitive development. Lake Forrest Prep, one of the best schools in Orlando, offers insight into how your child’s video games can help them learn better.

Boy and girl sit on couch holding video game controllers

Building Social Skills

The idea that video games cause violence remains the most frightening myth about gaming. But it’s just that — a myth. Research shows no link between playing video games and real-life acts of violence. Far from creating isolation and aggression, video games can actually help kids connect with their peers. In online multiplayer games like Minecraft, Overwatch, and Fortnite, kids can play together with friends on the other side of town or even the other side of the world. That interaction helps cultivate real-world social skills; studies show that kids who play video games regularly are more socially engaged and socially well-adjusted than their peers who don’t game.

Cognitive Development

Contrary to the belief that playing video games can negatively affect kids’ performance in school, new research shows that gaming can actually improve children’s cognitive functioning. A 2016 study found that children who played video games frequently had “1.75 times the odds of high intellectual functioning and 1.88 times the odds of high overall school competence” than those who did not play. Playing strategy adventure games, like the Legend of Zelda games, requires kids to make choices, solve problems, and use logic and deduction to overcome obstacles. The skills kids develop by playing these games extend into the real world, helping them make decisions and solve problems creatively and confidently.

close up photo of plastic Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi character figurines

Learning Disabilities

For children with learning disabilities like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or dyslexia, playing video games can help them overcome those unique challenges. Studies have shown that kids with ADHD can benefit from gaming in moderation, with increased retention of information and greater focus among the positive effects. A 2013 study from the University of Padua found that playing action video games can “drastically improve the reading abilities of children with dyslexia.” Kids who struggle in school because of a learning disability can use video games to relieve stress and anxiety, while also developing skills to succeed academically.

So next time your child wants to play their favorite game, know that they’re not just mining pixelated diamonds or slaying CGI dragons — they’re also developing important cognitive and social skills. To continue developing your child’s unique gifts, turn to one of the best schools in Orlando, Lake Forrest Prep. You can schedule a visit to our campus by calling (407) 331-5144.