8 benefits of video games

“If you want to understand children, watch them play.” – Alfred Adler

Yolanda Cretescu

Clinical psychologist and Adlerian psychotherapist

In order for our children to understand, during this period, we need to understand their world now. Regardless of the times we live in, children are born with the instinct of pleasure. Isolation rules, protection measures and medical danger today make it almost impossible to achieve pleasure, comfort and access to social play. However, they are the engine of their motivation: adults or children, we all need to enjoy our lives, to do things that bring us joy, satisfaction and relaxation. But can we live together doing only what we love? Not. Because we need another court, that of necessity, of norms and rules, only that children do not have this court because it is acquired in time. We are not born with “what we need”, but we are educated!

But shifting the focus from necessity to pleasure, we can often use the game as a form of natural and objective acceptance of the rules.

  1. I play by the rules.

If until now we guided our children according to a precise pattern, valid for several generations, in which every adult and child knew what to do, now we move quickly from an autocratic past to an era of equality: I have a meeting – You have an online school / I have obligations – You have restrictions. Today, more than ever, we need collaboration and cooperation, early skills that our children can develop and practice through online play.

All of these early childhood acquisitions make them very different from us at a similar age. Even if this “fracture” of tradition and age-related equivalence often confuses us, it is good to consider the benefits of developing early skills through online games. Games offer complexity, information, strategy, rules , community, equality, freedom of choice, meritocracy, acceptance of hierarchy

2. I can start over when I’m wrong, without fear of being scolded and disappointed.

We need to work together, build on understanding, mutual respect, and accept that nothing can be gained by surrender or resignation. Even if our instinct as adults and parents is to use traditional solutions, we must accept that they can no longer be applied today. It is important to learn from each other, and our children have developed this skill and practice it through games, where making mistakes becomes a natural process in their improvement.

3. I can take a break when I’m nervous and discouraged because I know I can go back without being marginalized or rejected.

In the game, children never feel punished when the other person wins. Unlike the traditional approach, often found in real life, in which the child learns from the adult that the strong win, in the world of games they see the win as a natural consequence, deserved by the best. The natural consequences are those that flow naturally, are objective and are not determined by the absolute power of an authority. They give me the chance to repeat the action in the future and to improve myself. That being said, in the game, pike children have the freedom to start over whenever they want, becoming better and better, but according to the principles of meritocracy, not domination. This helps them to better manage their emotions and take on the natural consequences in real life.

4. When I play, I work in an environment that invites me to solve problems and look for solutions in areas that are difficult to access in real life (eg: strategy games, banking, economics, legislation).

The pandemic has forced us to adopt a lifestyle in which raising children, through the new daily routine, seems to be increasingly difficult to manage. The growing time spent with children at home opens a new reality for us, that in which children begin to lose the natural tendency to be: they no longer eat alone, they no longer dress themselves, they are no longer responsible, brave and creative. On the other hand, we, the parents, have become tools to satisfy the needs and pleasures of children.

Controlled access to online games allows children to learn and develop new skills. At the same time, they are accustomed to finding solutions and solving problems to the detriment of restrictive home life during the pandemic.

5. Playing in teams brings me friends! Winning or losing is easier for me to live.

Unfortunately, communication between adults and children has disappeared today. With our new lifestyle and work, we have nowhere and when. Communication is only digital and conditioned, according to the principle “If…, then…” (If you go online, see you). Social skills can only be practiced virtually, and the content of social relationships is unsatisfactory. However, the game offers consistency, meaning of meetings and a role for each participant in the game.

7. When I play, I can encourage others as we set our goals together, solve problems, and look for solutions. Together we are a team.

Children learn through mimicry: when we spend social time in digital space, they build online communities; when we feel safe because we follow the rules, the work schedule, the deadlines, they feel safe when they play. In the game the children have controllable stakes, they know what awaits them and what they have to do; they are ready to push their limits; they feel safe with the team; he runs his skills without the pressure of adults, thus developing his tolerance for frustration.

8. I can teach others the skills we have learned if we all follow the same rules.

In order to develop healthy relationships with children, even in a pandemic when stress and frustration reach alarming levels and for us adults, we need to learn mutual respect. The form of mutual respect is the attitude of kindness and firmness at the same time. The first expresses respect for children, and the second respects me and my limits as an adult.

Too many of us today are just good, but not firm. Others are firm, but not good. Very rarely at the same time. Practical training is needed in concrete life situations to learn to put limits on interpersonal relationships. Children often do this at a very young age because the game has objective rules and is based on mutual respect.

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