It is widely known that video games created today are getting more attractive supported by the advancement of technology in this digital age. Games used to be played offline, but today they can be played by the global online users regardless the ages connected with the internet.
However, the biggest question mark we still have nowadays is whether video games bring positive or negative effects on children. The ongoing debate on this issue must be put out to know the exact figures. It is also interesting to talk about video games both online and offline and their impacts on children especially in this particular topic of “Games Make Kids Smarter” endorsed by Gabe Zichermann, an author and entrepreneur.
Nevertheless, before going further to discuss about the benefits and drawbacks, it is wise to look at the key word, which is “smart”. Perhaps, we can consider someone as a smart person, adults or children, by using what so-called ‘multiple intelligences’ that Howard Gardner, the Harvard Psychologist, promoted.
Those multiple intelligences include verbal-linguistic, logical mathematic, spatial-visual, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalist, and existential intelligence.However, ‘smart’ might have slightly different meaning than ‘intelligence’. Also see Difference Between Smart and Intelligent
Multiple studies suggest that video games can benefit and disadvantage children in several ways. The first positive effect is that video games can help build collaborative working skills on children since most games today, particularly online ones, have multi-player mode where they can play and work together with other players in order to achieve particular team goals.
This also means that children can indirectly learn interpersonal skills, where they can build relationship and collaborate with new people. However, many cases happen that video games can make children socially disconnected and isolated in the real life. An article published by ScienceDialy on the impacts of video games says “As the amount of time playing video games went up, the quality of relationships with peers and parents went down.”The real situation in the real life is the most important part of children’s life, and it determines how they grow.
The second related benefit is that children who play video games are found to be more multi-tasking because games require the players to control all of their actions at the same time. This multi-tasking activity includes the hand-eye coordination to control motor functions. Therefore, video games can help children’s kinesthetic development. Nonetheless, playing video games can be an addiction for children, which affects their health and interrupt their academic life.
The third significant advantage is that video games teach children the joy of competition. Games are believed to be a safe place to express children competitive urges. However, some competitive games, particularly the ones containing violence video affect children negatively. A study says that children who play more violent video games show more aggressive behaviour.
In my personal context, I am not really into video games, even though of course I ever played one or two types of video games. However, I still could not find the joy of playing video games. Just to be honest, I am a typical person who easily gets bored. If, for example, I always win the game, I will find the game not challenging and not interesting, and vice versa. Therefore, I am not learning any significant skills from the game.
However, for the purpose of my personal and professional teaching, I am really willing to learn how particular video games can be used for students to learn both inside and outside the classroom.
Gabe Zichermann. How Games Make Kids Smarter. https://www.ted.com/talks/gabe_zichermann_how_games_make_kids_smarter
Howard Gardner. (2010). Multiple intelligences. https://howardgardner.com/multiple-intelligences/
James Paul, 2003What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy, Palgrave Macmillan: New York. http://mason.gmu.edu/~lsmithg/jamespaulgee2print.html