Why Video Games Are Good For The Family

On Tuesday I watched the live feed of the Activision’s Family Game Summit held in New York City.  The summit was about Activision’s new games that are coming out.  Plus several speakers talked to the audience about why video games can be good for the entire family.  The speakers were:

Activision is a big promoter of family gaming and they have several great games coming out!  The folks from Activision sent me a goody bag of great stuff!  I got Skylanders Giants for the Wii, Lalaloopsy Carnival of Friends and Moshi Monsters Moshlings Theme Park for the Nintendo 3DS,  Moshi Monsters Magazine, Moshi Monsters 3-day membership, Lalaloopsy Toy, Wipeout 3 for the X-Box, and a ESRB rating die.

Since Black Friday is around the corner.  Activision has several great games for boys, girls, and the family coming out.  Here are 9 fun Activision games perfect for tweens and families that would make great holiday gifts.  For the girls they can enjoy Lalaloopsy Carnival of Friends, Bratz: Fashion Boutique, and Moshi Monsters Moshlings Theme Park all for the Nintendo 3DS.  For the boys they will enjoy Transformers Prime The Game for Nintendo Wii, Wii U, and DS, The Trash Pack for Nintendo DS, and Wreck-It Ralph for Nintendo Wii and DS.  And the entire family would enjoy Wipeout 3 for Xbox, Nintendo Wii, Wii U and DS, Angry Birds Trilogy for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo DS, and Skylander Giants for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and 3DS.  So why would I only recommend video games and not toys or other kids favorites?

During the summit some very surprising facts were reveled about video games and why families need a family game night.  For example; did you know that family games, video or otherwise, are also a great way for kids to learn to be more graceful winners and losers?    Or 80% of the time when a player plays a video game, they are failing. This helps build resilience in the face of failure?  And many of you fought playing video games are a waste of time and not good for kids.  The truth is playing video games benefit everybody!  Some of the physical benefits of gaming include:

  • Preschool children who play interactive video games have better control motor skills like kicking, throwing, and catching.
  • Video games can improve players ability to see sight differences in gray by 58% – the main limiting factor in how well you see.
  • Gamers scored higher in reaction times – even in situations not involving a video game.
  • Video games improve your ability to see contrast by as much as 60%.
  • Surgeons who played video games were able to operate 24% faster – with 32% fewer errors – during a simulated surgery with non gamers.

Ask if your surgeon plays video games.  It will make you safer during the operation.  Some of the social benefits of gaming include:

  • 62% of gamers play with others in person or online.
  • Games teach everyday skills including delegating responsibility, promoting teamwork, and leading people toward a common goal.
  • Players who engage in cooperative play in games show increased cooperative behavior later.
  • Girls who play video games with a parent are better behaved, feel more connected with their families, and have stronger mental health.

Some of the mental benefits of gaming include:

  • Game players can focus on six things at once without getting confused, compared to non gamers who average four.
  • Game players perform 10%-20% higher in terms of perceptual and cognitive ability than non game players.
  • Improves fundamental abilities to reason and problem solve in novel contexts.
  • People who played action based games made decisions 25% faster than others without sacrificing accuracy.
  • Kids that play video games scored 23% higher in creative tests involving tasks such as drawing pictures and writing stories.

And here is the emotional benefits of gaming which include:

  • Video games promote cooperation and encourage gamers to control their aggression.
  • Anger issues and depression can be helped by using video games and biofeedback.
  • Gaming can act as a semi-protective function against nightmares.
  • Gamers spend 80% of their time failing.  It makes them more resilience in the face of failure.

All of this good buzz about video games does not mean you need to stay indoors 24/7.  The Academy of Pediatrics says kids only need two hours of game play and screen time per day, maximum.  It’s still good to have kids go outside and play!  When parents are picking video games for their kids; they need to look at their child as an individual when choosing what games are appropriate.  And yes; embrace individuality!  The ESRB rates every video game on the market and they do much more than the letter ratings you see.  45% of games were given an E for Everyone and 20% are 10+.  There are a lot of age appropriate games out there for your kids.  The ESRB regulates games in 3 ways: 1) age rating categories, 2) content descriptors, 3) interactive and digital ratings.

The ESRB has rated over 1300 games last year.  And you can go to http://www.esrb.org to find the rating of the game you are wanting to buy.  Video games are a great way for kids to be more graceful winners and losers.  And family game nights with video games, board games, or sports are great bonding time for families!

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