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A Parent's Guide to Video Games

A Parent's Guide to Video Games

“I can’t PAUSE, you don’t just PAUSE! This is the most important bit!”

It doesn’t matter what type of gamer your kid is, as a 21st-century parent, you’ve probably heard these words before.

Video games are a part of life, as are the many excuses our children come up with to stay glued to their devices…

But it’s not all bad – and that’s because video games can benefit kids in many ways and help them develop a variety of skills. And we know that’s music to your ears.

To help you get to grips with gaming in a way that’s safe, secure and stress-free for everyone, we’ve put together a helpful guide. Prepare to play as we explore how to balance online and offline time and navigate digital worlds safely and securely. But first, let’s look at…

How video games can help your kid’s skill development

First things first, can video games actually boost skill development, or is it just a rumor created by our kids to secure extra screen time?

Well, let’s look at sensorimotor skills, which is – let’s face it – a fancy word that simply refers to the coupling of the sensory system and motor system. For example, riding a bike or typing on a keyboard.

According to a recent study conducted by psychological researchers at the University of Toronto, action video gamers have better hand-eye coordination than non-gamers and improved sensorimotor skills.

Video games can also boost kids’ emotional skills, given that they immerse imaginative young minds in long-form narratives that are filled with fascinating characters, fantastical locations, and engaging twists and turns.

And don’t forget problem-solving skills, because that’s what video games essentially are – a presentation of increasingly difficult problems the gamer needs to solve, like LEGO® Builder’s Journey.

Finally, while you might worry that screen time detracts from social time, today’s online multiplayer games act as a platform to collaborate (and hang out) with friends, which can provide a big boost to children’s social skills.

Balance video games with other hobbies and interests

Yes, video games are great. So great, in fact, that they can sometimes become a little all-consuming, especially for young children who may not grasp the concept of moderation.

Establishing time limits and implementing parental controls on gaming consoles can help make screen time more positive for kids. And while this might lead to you being seen as the ‘Evil Overseer’ of fun, it’s a necessary step towards keeping your kids safe online.

Remember, a well-rounded childhood is all about balance. So let’s look at the strategies you can adopt to encourage a more diverse set of interests in your children. Starting with offline activities.

We’re not saying your little one has to become a mini Olympian overnight but keep in mind that sports promote physical fitness, teamwork, and discipline. In addition, reading encourages language skills and stimulates the imagination, while engaging in arts and crafts, like painting a picture, making a bracelet or playing a musical instrument, fosters creativity and self-expression.

Speaking of creativity, why not explore outlets that can enhance your child’s overall gaming experience – for example, you could suggest they explore game design or express themselves through fan art.

Another approach to striking a balance between online and offline time is by bringing video games to life with LEGO® sets.

By taking your young gamer’s favorite storylines, characters and adventures from their screens and placing them into their hands, you instantly unleash their creativity as they engage in real-world storytelling. In addition, the opportunity to challenge friends or family using these sets adds a social aspect to offline play.

Promote online safety and security

We’ve looked at the benefits of gaming and strategies for ensuring a balanced approach to online time, but before we log off, let’s talk safety and security.

Our Build & Talk resource is a fun way to approach the subject of digital safety and well-being, all while getting creative with LEGO in the comfort of your own home.

Simply grab some bricks and download the activity pack, which is filled with conversation-starters around screen time, cyberbullying, privacy, and safely sharing information online.