A study linking video games to improved laparoscopic surgery is just the tip of the iceberg in the hot topic of the positive effects of video games.
According to Mitchell Wade, co-author of The Kids are Alright: How the Gamer Generation is Changing the Workplace, “When you see studies that show surgeons or pilots improve their skills in the real world using computer simulations, ie games, you see the line between the real and the non-real is blurred. ”Wade has conducted extensive research into the effects of video games and its uses on the real world.
Volunteer learning environment
Video games are a great way for children to voluntarily engage in global interaction. Along with the fun that games bring, kids are not even aware that games really help build teamwork, cooperation, and encourage risk-taking in a risk-free environment. They quickly get rewards in the form of virtual prizes when they complete a certain task and discover through repeated trial and error that it’s okay to make mistakes.
Wade discovered that the lessons learned become more important than the visuals displayed. Capturing gender in videos and even violence and sex in graphics are less powerful than lessons about teamwork, success and failure. Mitchell’s study also found that four-fifths of young adults played video games growing up. He says, “Part of growing up is ‘normalizing’ your peer group, and those who haven’t played video games have a harder time bonding because they lack common experiences.
John Black, a professor at Teacher’s College at Columbia University, said he has seen children grow in learning when they can manipulate variables or events. An example of this is Civilization where players can change historical facts and see how that would have impacted the world. This kind of game stimulates students’ interest in history. Changes such as the fact that the Spaniards do not present horses to the Native Americans can have many consequences, no matter how simple this event is in the story.
Games allow learning from experiences rather than lectures. Games allow players to explore options and experience certain outcomes. They are interested in data and learn as they explore other possibilities.
Uses in the real world
Nowadays, Ganes continue to change and imitate more of reality, and are used to improve real skills. The new wave of Wii games engages physical bodies in what are called “augmented reality games”. The Wii sells better, even with cartoon graphics, than games from other companies that use advanced graphics.
Computer-simulated roller coaster rides in video arcades allow gamers to experience and overcome their fears without riding a real roller coaster. They can program simple loops or dangerous thrills and rolls.
The military has also optimized games such as Flight Simulator, to help with hand-eye coordination in pilot training. The CIA and the military provide games for personnel to train agents and prepare soldiers for real war game experiences.
Doctors working with young pain patients encourage watching videos because it helps block pain without medication. When children engage in something stimulating, it makes them forget about the pain.
How much playing time is enough?
A laparoscopic surgery study showed improvement with just three hours of play per week, anything beyond that can cause problems. In Korea, due to sitting in the same position for long hours, some players developed deep vein thrombosis which caused clots in the legs. Children need physical activity.
Wade has discovered that the game is played in waves. Kids can spend hours pulling baskets to improve a skill, then lose interest once they’ve mastered it. Kids can also spend hours learning computer skills and then move on to another activity.
Interact with your sons and daughters to find out what interests them in a game, what lessons they are learning, and monitor the time spent playing. Play games with your children and promote breaks that allow your children to physically move and interact in real environments.