The Benefits Of Kids Playing Video Games

By KBJR News 1

The Benefits Of Kids Playing Video Games

October 12, 2010 Updated Oct 12, 2010 at 6:58 PM CDT

Posted by Melissa Burlaga

(Duluth, Northland's NewsCenter) - Most parents don't see much good in video games: they consume hours of time, provide little exercise, and they're often violent.

But one study published in the journal current biology suggests playing action video games helps develop heightened sensitivities that improves a variety of skills. What's a parent to do?

Barbara Reyelts has that story in today's connect with kids report.

The games David n plays require quick thinking, quick reactions, and a stomach for virtual violence, something his mom doesn't have.

"She's like they teach me to kill people or something."

"We don't know, so you kind of speculate and when you see violence... you naturally associate it to violent acts."

But while there's been plenty of research on the violence in video games and it's potential harm research from the University of Rochester has found video game players process visual and auditory information more efficiently - and make a decision must faster than non-gamers.

Players were better than non-players when tested for reaction time, awareness of surroundings, and ability to multitask.

"You're used to doing a whole lot of things at once cause you'll look at your map and there'll be three people and they'll all be in different places so you have to deal with all of them."

Experts say reaction time, spatial awareness; those are the same things that can make for a better driver, for instance.

"As much as I'm not personally a big fan of single person shooter games, if it does in fact show that we can improve our scanning skills and our planning skills. Then I've got to hope that it would perhaps make an adolescent behind a three to four thousand pound machine potentially a safer driver."

On the other hand experts say there are plenty of other games that can likely teach the same skills without the shooting, without the blood.

David's mom lets him play, as long as he doesn't overdo it.

"My son's a good kid so I didn't really make a big issue of him playing the games."