Are video games ever good for kids?

This was such a great response to the question of whether kids and video games should mix that it needs to be passed along.

 Are video games ever good for kids? Of course they are. They can be good for adults, and even seniors, too.

Can they be bad? Of course they can. It depends on the games and on the people who are playing them.

Actually, the same can be said for any kind of game. Can chess be bad? It can be, if it becomes an obsession, if the chess players pursue chess to the exclusion of everything else social, physical, and intellectual.

Go read the rest of Bernie DeKoven’s response for the full dose of ludic enlightenment.

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3 thoughts on “Are video games ever good for kids?

  1. Thanks, Josh, for sharing my post. I am honored.

    That chess thing – I was surprised, as I found myself thinking about it, how apt a metaphor it proved in building a defense of video games.

    On the other hand, I’m not sure if anyone who actually asks a question like “are video games ever good for kids” is ready to respond to any metaphor, no matter how apt.

  2. Yeah, that reminds me of how competitive traditional games can have comparable effects to the sorts of things that set off people’s warning bells when they watch others playing video games.

    For example, sometimes I’m bothered by the intensity of concentration and focus when playing action-heavy online multiplayer games. But before I can start hypothesizing about how video games are tapping into my adrenaline supply to turn me into a psycho, I remember a prof I met once who used to be a highly competitive Go player. He told me he had to stop playing competitively because it was too hard on his heart. That surprised me, until I thought about the sort of concentration that’s involved – and how it’s very similar to what I experience playing video games. Competitive games of strategy can bring out intense emotions and unusual states of mind whether pixels or pawns are involved.

  3. Interesting. I guess this taps into what exactly play is meant to do or be. From the ambulance/accident example in Mr. DeKoven’s article, play seems to function as a method for learning/understanding about situations in a safe way. Kids can explore some real world concepts in simulation before encountering it in real life, thus creating better coping methods. Of course, as both of you bring up, some of this play can go to excess. One may question the validity in learning from a game where all you do is shooting aliens and blowing stuff up. I don’t, obviously, have a good answer to that. In my layman’s perspective, I just see most of that as entertainment. Like an interactive movie. What is a movie, but a vicarious experience of events that we may never get the chance to experience ourselves?

    I just wonder if there’s just too much pressure on games always required to be purposeful or something. I agree that kids are not usually stupid enough to use videogames as their reason to do horrible things. I cannot imagine games are the cause for this, but perhaps a catalyst? That usually bespeaks of some other emotional problems from other sources that require looking at prior to pinning any sort of blame on video games.

    I like to think they are great stress relief. Though, that’s a lot like how smokers say they smoke to relax, although nicotine is a stimulant. Go figure.

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