Gaming has become part of our everyday lives as a form of entertainment; at times, it’s considered no different than watching television for hours at a time.
In the ’80s, children watch cartoons and started to play Frogger and pong. Today's gaming industry has drastically changed. Makes me wonder if children today are smarter and more skillful than children just two decades ago?
The gaming industry is booming, bringing in nearly 12 billion dollars. Studies show that 92% of Americans play some video game on a console, computer, or mobile device. Due to technological advancements, games are evolving and adapting to players of all ages and genders. What was once considered an all-male or “guy thing” is now popular among girls and teenagers. Games use to be solely one or two players. These games offered a type of competitiveness, but it does not come close to what today's market offers.
With the advancement of games and the incorporation of the internet, players are now able to socialize and achieve in-game goals. Online gaming has only been around since 1997; it opened doors to gamers, allowing them to create and control avatars in the game. These being a representation of themselves while in the game. By playing Massive Multi-Player Online Gamers or MMORPGs, players get to experience life in another world, achieve a goal-related task, and establish in-game friends. These games are still top-rated today, although they have drastically advanced in graphics and technical aspects such as voice and video without the internet these games would not have been created.
Games today are most likely played on a console, computer or mobile devices. These require children to use their hands and eyes in different ways. While the kids are looking at the screen, their hand and fingers are moving across the controls, and at a time, this is an automatic reaction. Children can make a quick decision or judgment in the game to move their character or object across the screen. The concept of working both hands while looking at the screen has been shown to improve children eye-hand coordination drastically.
Emotional skills can develop in-game, as well. There are different forms of violent games; the entertainment software rating board offers a way to monitor what is suitable for your child age. However, your child may have a difficult time understanding in-game conflict at times. Take time to discuss with your child what makes real-life experiences different from video games. Violent games have been in production for the past ten years, yet at times they seem to be getting a little more gruesome every year. Personally, it's just not my cup of tea. However, I know there are those who love them. Children who don’t know or understand that being rewarded for aggressive behavior while playing a video game is not how real-world socialization takes place. By observing what your child plays and asking questions such as: do you know why he did that in the game? Provides you the opportunity to engage with your child and provide feedback.