Video Games for Children: What’s Good, What’s Not

Some video games are good for children, some are not. Discover what these video games are and how they affect children. 

  Key Points at a Glance:

  • Educational video games have positive effects on a child’s brain development. On the other hand, violent video games have negative effects on a child’s brain development.
  • Educational video games help develop coding, literacy, math, and decision-making skills among children.
  • Violent video games expose children to negative themes, leading them to become immune to violence, imitate violence, and have poor social skills.

The field of video games is a place that many parents fear to tread. These games play a fundamental role in the formative years of a child’s life. It’s only natural for most parents to have qualms about their real benefits.

There are beneficial and harmful video games from the perspective of child development. With such an overwhelming number of games, it’s easy to blur the lines between the good and the bad. 

As a parent, you can prohibit your children from playing video games completely. But that would mean denying them simple joys and cognitive gains. So, the best solution is to find out what’s good and what’s not for your children.

What’s Good and What’s Not Good for Children

We can define good video games by the positive impact they have on a child’s brain development. In this case, ”bad” video games provide the contrary.

According to the Early Intervention Research Group (EIRG), researchers found which video games have positive and negative effects on children:

  • Interactive and Educational Video Games – Positive impact on a child’s brain development
  • Violent (Including purely entertaining media) – Negative impact on a child’s brain development

How Do Educational Video Games Affect Children?

The EIRG highlighted the positive effects of educational video games on preschoolers. In an article, they stated that these games develop literacy, math, and coding skills. They also influence a child’s decision-making ability.

Discussions about the positive effects of video games are not new. In fact, in 2008, the Pew Research Center released an article discussing the “educative power” of video games.

In the same article, it’s noted that the interactive features of educational games push players to take part in the learning process. Studies also highlighted that parent participation in educational video games boosts learning.

How Do Violent Video Games Affect Children?

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) stated that violent video games revolve around negative themes. Some violent games may include criminal behavior, racial stereotypes, and the killing of people. 

According to Dr. Cindy Gellner, a pediatrician with the University of Utah, there are studies that showed how children exposed to violence become numb or immune to the violence they see on screen. She further explained that children imitate these types of violence and showed aggressiveness.

The AACAP also noted violent images have more influence over younger children. They also outlined how excessive exposure to violence leads to poor social skills. 

What Should You Do?

It’s clear that educational video games have positive benefits on your child’s development. Engaging with your child also boosts the learning process while you teach them.

Minimize your child’s exposure to violent video games. As mentioned, these could lead to negative behavior and poor social skills. Moreover, your child will have a tendency to imitate the violence they see.

Knowing both the good and the bad is a fair point for parents and their children. Video games for children revolve around themes that define the benefits they bring. It’s your role as a parent to introduce them to the good ones to enhance their learning.


Get Started

Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. (2015, June). Video games and children: Playing with violence.
Northwestern Early Intervention Research Group. (n.d.). Video games and child development: What does the research say?
Pew Research Center. (2008, September 16). Exploring the relationship between gaming and civics.
University of Utah Health. (2015, April 6). The video games your child plays do have an effect on their behavior.

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