Why Games Are Not Always Bad for Kids: The Positive Social and Developmental Benefits of Video Games

Electronics have always had an awkward place in today’s children’s daily lives.

It is indispensable—whether it is listening to stories, watching cartoons, or taking online classes, electronic products are inseparable; There are children playing mobile games that can be seen everywhere, and children of two or three years old who must use animation to accompany their meals.

One of the biggest intersections between electronic products and childhood is also the most troublesome scene for parents when children use electronic products- video games .

We all know that games on the screen have been infamous for a long time, and evaluations like “electronic heroin” have been popular since more than 20 years ago until today. Although many parents have spent a lot of money on playing games on their mobile phones, they think that playing video games for their children is an absolute waste of time.

This mentality highlights parents’ contradictory perceptions of games: when children play games in childhood, it is a waste of time; when children play games as adults, it is a waste of time.

So when should you play the game? Are games good for anything other than “fun”?

On the third anniversary event of “Youth New Knowledge”, we invited Mr. Ye Zhuang, the game columnist of “Youth New Knowledge” who is a psychologist and passionate about game research , with the theme of “Can friends in the game get along for a lifetime?” The young readers and parents and friends present had a wonderful dialogue and sharing.

Teacher Ye Zhuang believes that games and growth are not completely different. Not only that, once children can be reasonably guided to play games, games can even bring huge growth dividends.

For example, playing games can help children develop socially.

In 2016, the Poole Research Center released a survey report on the use of electronic products and social interaction among children and adolescents. From the data revealed in it, it is not difficult to draw the conclusion that games play a very important role in the lives of children today. The role of a “common language”.

52% of children play games with friends, and 13% do so every day. At the same time, boys just need games for socializing. 84% of boys play video games, and the report stated: “For boys, playing games is no longer an option, but a must.” Of these boys who play games, 83% 75% of the friends who play with offline friends and 75% of the netizens who play with them online. At the same time, whether you play games or not, among all boys, 38% of them prefer three One of the topics is games. Meanwhile, 78 percent of kids said playing video games with their peers was the most rewarding way for them to bond.

You know, this is a report in 2016. Seven years have passed, and the social interaction of games for children is still developing.

For many parents, the combination of gaming and socializing is precisely the point of greatest concern: Violent games can lead to violent behavior in children, can’t they? You must have read a number of papers demonstrating this. That’s right, but these studies are basically from twenty or thirty years ago.

In January 2019, the Royal Society published a new study on this topic, from researchers at Oxford and Cardiff Universities. The study found no significant association between aggressive behavior and violent gaming among adolescents. The study further demonstrates that the previous research results are quite suspected of “taking the existing conclusions backwards”. This kind of research has the feeling of “I am a hammer, and everyone is a nail”, so I finally came up with “Violent games lead to violent behavior” argument.

This new trend of thought has also resonated domestically. Professor Liu Yanling of the Mental Health Education and Social Adaptation Laboratory of Southwest University also published a meta-analysis study in “Advances in Psychological Science” in 2019, and proposed such a possibility-the reason why violent games make some children Aggressive behavior mainly activates the “violence switch” in the player’s own behavior, because many studies have found that if the player does not identify with violence, playing violent games does not make them violent. of. They may even resent and avoid these violent games – let alone suffer negative effects.

However, Mr. Ye Zhuang has a more secure idea: Regardless of the impact mechanism, since violent games are risky, why don’t we let children play violent games? There are so many good games, why bother to play fighting and killing? What’s more, a person who likes violence, if you don’t let him play games, he can also rely on novels, movies, and animations to find and fight, isn’t it?

In 2009, Douglas Gentle of Iowa State University conducted a classic cross-cultural study to explore whether children in the United States, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, and the Netherlands, by playing pro-social video games, can be more Cultivate pro-social behaviors such as altruism, helping others, and empathy. The results are promising: good games have a significant boost to good behavior. In 2016, a study of two elementary schools in Hangzhou found that in China, pro-social video games can also significantly reduce the aggressive behavior of elementary school children, and boys are more likely to be affected than girls.

Not only that, the National Social Science Foundation has also approved a series of studies on the mechanism of pro-social games, which are currently in full swing-the academic circles and the country have reached an agreement: exposing children to pro-social games can really be effective Help children better engage in social interaction.

However, as an already itchy parent, we still have a lot of work to do to prevent video games from becoming a Pandora’s box in our children’s childhood.

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