It may come as a surprise to non-gamers that video games can often teach youngsters the need for teamwork and social skills, but thats the case. As in real life, a team in video games is often able to achieve much more than just talented individuals, and as video games usually consist of objectives to be completed (kill the enemy team, discover a certain treasure) gamers quickly learn to cooperate in pursuit of these goals or they lose. Theyre the same lessons that can be learnt playing sport, but for those who are shyer about performing in such a pressured environment, video games can provide the emotional distance needed to feel confident enough to compete. These are skills which will be used throughout life, in social and work-related environments, and video games have been shown to greatly aid their development. Prove ItA survey conducted by the nonprofit research Joan Ganz Cooney Center and the educational site Brain Pop found that 60 percent of teachers said that their students had become better collaborators after using digital games in the classroom two to four days per week.
2. Motor Skills
Perhaps the best documented medical benefit of playing video games is the (almost inevitable) improvement in spatial awareness, reaction time and basic motor skills of gamers. In fact, during tests, gamers as a group have been demonstrated to have abilities honed to more or less the same level as that of a fighter pilot (and only slightly below Batman). Such skills might be used to avoid a car accident one day, or would help with any kind of manual labour. It stands to reason that if you spend hours upon hours practising something, your abilities will improve over time, and playing video games involves a wider range of abilities than almost any other hobby that exists and kids will do it willingly. Prove It A study by Dr James Rosser and Douglas Gentile (Iowa State University) of 303 laparoscopic surgeons showed that surgeons who played video games requiring spatial skills and hand dexterity and then performed a drill testing these skills were significantly faster at their first attempt and across all 10 trials than the surgeons who did not the play video games first.
Laurence Gardner was born in Canterbury, England. After moving around various cities during his childhood, and spending some time travelling in Europe and America, he studied English Literature at Oxford University. Since then, he’s been living abroad, teaching English, learning a range of languages, and writing in his free time. He can currently be found in Heidelberg, working as an English Tutor and Translator and studying at the University. If you liked this article, follow him on Twitter to get automatic updates on his work.