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Benefits of Video Games for Gifted Children

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Updated January 19, 2008

Many news reports on video games are quite negative, suggesting that the games can lead to any number of bad behaviors, including violence. However, video games can actually have a number of benefits for gifted children, for all children.

One benefit of playing video games is that they teach strategy and decision-making skills, which are important skills to have in today's competitive world. Even those games which seem to be nothing but violence (like Grand Theft Auto) teach those skills. In fact, it seems to be the challenge of finding the right strategies that make these games appealing, not the violence. In a USA Today article, Kevin Maney discusses some of the social research that indicates that concerns about video gaming are exaggerated.

This does not mean, however, that game play should be completely unsupervised, especially for younger children, or that it should be unlimited or that it should interfere with homework, chores or other responsibilities. As much as many of us like the idea of our kids reading good books, we wouldn't allow the younger ones to read anything they like, to do nothing but read, or to read so much that they neglect chores and homework. The same should be true of computer and video gaming.

What do some kids think about video games? Here is a poem written by a 14 year old gifted boy, who enjoyed video games, yes, even Grand Theft Auto:
    Video games
      that take me places away from harsh reality,
      that allow me to be the kind of person I want to be,
      that test my abilities,
      that raise my awareness level,
      that teach me strategy,
      that improve my hand-eye coordination,
      that teach me math skills,
      that teach me history,
      that teach me a foreign language,
      that are mostly made of RPG's, FPS's, and RTS's,
    made me who I am today.

Parenting Tips for Children and Video Games

  1. Don't follow age recommendations too strictly when buying software for a gifted child. Quite often a gifted child is better off with a game recommended for older children they'll quickly get bored with games that don't challenge them.

  2. Monitor your child's game playing the way you monitor tv. If you don't want your child watching violent tv shows, then don't allow your child to play violent video games!
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