They isolate children socially and distract them from learning, right? Think again. Researchers have found that kids who clock up regular console time can improve their hand-eye coordination, their grip on science, even their IQ.
A British study of 700 children found that simulation games developed children’s strategic thinking and planning skills. And researchers from the Department of Computing Science at the University of Alberta suggest that computer games can be a great way to explain physics concepts. Their game Siege integrates the concept of projectile movement and brings the effects of wind velocity and vertical angle into play.
In another project, done in 2004, students at Edmonton’s Holy Trinity Catholic High School created their own computer-game stories. Findings showed that while only one-third of the students were interested in writing a second story as a traditional narrative, two-thirds wanted to write another interactive story – even if it meant homework!
BUT WATCH OUT! Some games can create stress-like symptoms, with younger children more affected because they are less able to distinguish between fact and fiction. Ensure the computer is somewhere you can see it, and monitor its use.