In the parenting community there has been a lot of debate about technology and kids. Topics broach issues from the age it should be introduced, time allowances, and educational benefits to whether it should be allowed at all. Personally, I’m very much Pro Technology. That being said an even more heated debate taking place begs the question – Are Video Games Bad For Kids? In short, my answer is no. But as with many things in life moderation is key.
For instance, recently my family was sent a copy of The Smurfs 2 by UBI Soft to review on our xbox 360. The basic premise of the game is that the evil wizard Gargamel has created the Naughties – two Smurfs who obviously didn’t learn right from wrong as children. They have kidnapped Smurfette from Smurfs Village and imprisoned her in Paris. Now it’s up to us (the Smurfs) to travel all the way from the Enchanted Forest, through New York and into Paris (via 6 levels of gameplay) in order to save the day!
We had three reviewers on board: My Husband, the expert; Myself, the noob; and My Daughter, button masher extraordinaire. It was during this review that my eyes were really opened to why video games are good for kids.
- Family Bonding
Growing up my family bonded over games like Operation, Monopoly and Clue. My husband and his family bonded over electronic gaming consoles. We like to mix the best of both worlds. Some nights we play Candy Land. Other nights we took advantage of the Four Player seamless co-op, working together to defeat the evil Gargamel – mwahahaha. Whether it’s competing against each other in board games or working together to defeat a common enemy what really mattered was that my family was bonding.
- They Develop Hand-Eye Coordination
Glance over any Preschool/Kindergarten readiness guide and one of the components will be Hand-Eye Coordination. My daughter usually plays video games with her dad via button mashing. However, between the basic ability to control Brainy (her favorite Smurf) via Joystick and the simple action buttons she was able to at least move her character from point A to B. Which was a great feat of hand-eye coordination for a toddler. Meanwhile, Mom and Dad took care of the actual game play – Teamwork!
- Video games teach problem solving.
Unlike TV Shows where a kid passively watches, a video game forces kids to receive, process data and react in a very short time frame. If they make the wrong decision or fail to act there are immediate consequences and they must perform the act again. However, if they make the correct decision they are rewarded with immediate, positive reinforcement. While my daughter was a bit young to fully grasp the problem solving process even she quickly learned when to avoid the enemy whether it was Gargamel, the dastardly cat or the Naughties.
It was for these reasons and countless others such as team building skills and strategic thinking that make this game and others great for kids. Not to mention Maddilyn loved playing it. It’s vibrant colors, catchy tunes and beloved Smurfs made it an instant hit for her. Dad was a little more discriminate. While he appreciated the level of game play it was a little short for his taste and didn’t offer much replay value. However, the time we spent playing together and the benefits of video games in general made this a winner for me. You can pick up your own copy of The Smurfs 2 at Amazon for $39.96 and free shipping.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.