Video Games: The Hidden Benefits of Playing With Your Kids!

Dear Commons Community,

The Huffington Post has an upbeat article on the “hidden benefits” of playing video games with our children.  The article cites Cheryl Olson, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and co-author of “Grand Theft Childhood” a book about the effects video games have on kids that was inspired by a study of 1200 twelve to fourteen year-olds she conducted with her husband, Dr. Lawrence Kutner.   She advises that we should not treat video game playing as all doom and gloom with children spending too much time on them or being exposed to an overabundance of violence or gore.

She encourages parents to spend time with their children playing these games.   She advises that “Playing together can provide an opportunity to bond and subtly broach more serious issues with your children, without them feeling like they’re in for a serious talk.”

Having a child teach a parent a game can also be a very valuable experience  because “Learning to teach someone else is just a great skill: the mental ability it takes to break down something and explain it to someone else is part of education…”

I enjoy playing with my grandchildren but they tend to be traditional games.    For instance, I bought my grandson a checker set a few months ago and taught him the game.   I also have concerns about whether he and my other grandchildren are becoming addicted to their mini keyboards.  I found this article and its advice has giving me the courage to ask my grand kids if I can play “digital” whatever with them.