Bokskapet. ‘Gaming.’ Pixabay.com. Copyright-free.

The Benefits of Online Gaming to Child Development

Current educational research has shown positive correlations between moderated gaming activity and learning. In 2013, SRI Education study (funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) published, ‘Simulations for STEM Learning: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis and found that games with replication components increase learning by 23% in comparison to traditional methods of education.

Gaming improves problem-solving skills, sharpens the memory, trains the mind to focus and concentrate on exercises while learning multi-tasking skills, and improving a child’s social capabilities.

Gaming is the Future of Learning

A simple Google search will turn up with oodles of scholarly research. These studies prove gaming will make kids learn faster, develop fewer antisocial behaviors, and hone their problem-solving skills.

Adamovich, Olya. ‘Game.’ Pixabay.com. Copyright-free.

Gaming is Fun

The best part of gaming is that it is fun! Kids can practice cooperation, stay focused, and enjoy themselves while learning.

However, there are many dangers on the web. Online gaming offers many benefits, but parents must be diligent in protecting their children from predators, unethical businesses, and scammers.

Games let kids connect with other people around the world. Cultural enrichment is part of the gaming package but so are malicious elements like bullying, the glorification of violence, and inappropriate language.

Inspired Images. ‘Nintendo-Switch.’ Pixabay.com. Copyright-free.

Pitfalls of Gaming

The risks of internet-based gaming aren’t just bullying and inappropriate content. A substantial threat is ‘catfishing.’ There are numerous fake personas on the web pretending to be someone else than they are to lure and mislead children and adults alike.

Sharing photos and personal details with other gamers is dangerous. Kids need to know that these predators can find them if they post any of the following: photos with identifiable locations, addresses, check-ins, and even birthday wishes.

The Most Common Dangers for Kids While Playing Games Online

In-game purchases and gambling. There are games like YoWorld where players can buy ‘skins.’ These skins are used for self-expression and stylization in Big Viking’s YoWorld, but other games offer products that enhance gameplay, extend the session, and provide advantages over other players.

These in-App purchases can quickly rack up serious charges without the child being aware of how much money they’ve spent.

Coders, Stefan. ‘Gaming.’ Pixabay.com. Copyright-free.

Griefers and Child Suicide

‘Griefing’ is a bullying strategy to win online games by scaring and threatening other players. Another tragic trend that is harming families all over the world as children play malevolent games like ‘The BlueWhale Challenge.’

A Russian criminal, Phillip Budeikin, and his Svengalian mob of suicide game designers are vicariously responsible for the many unnecessary deaths of children. The deadly game manipulates players into attempting 50 terrible, unethical tasks that finish with suicide being the last challenge.

According to Unilad, online suicide groups have connected more than 130 teenage deaths in Russia, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States with victims as young as 12 ending their lives for the sake of winning a game.

Top Tips for Safe Online Gaming for Kids

It is frightening to think of a child unprotected out in the digital sphere, but virtual life isn’t going anywhere and will continue to become more and more essential to everyday life.

However, teaching your children about the dangers and risks can prevent them from becoming a victim of a digital crime or maltreatment.

StartupStockPhotos. ‘Children.’ Pixabay.com. Copyright-free.

Resources

SafetyDetectives is a website dedicated to helping every internet user stay safe on the web. They recommend keeping an open line of communication between you and your kids about online gaming and the following tips:

  • Choose a safe username.
  • Be thoughtful about what you share with safety kept in mind.
  • Review who your kids play with and block toxic influences.
  • Routinely check your child’s privacy settings. Setting up a regular time like the first of every month will help establish digital security hygiene.
  • Set time limits and mandatory breaks.
  • Talk to your kids about in-game purchases, loot boxes, and budgeting for them.
  • Downloads and modifications aren’t always safe so it’s best if your children must seek permission before downloading new content or software.

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