How Video Games Might Actually Make Your Kid Smarter

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Video games have a bad reputation. They make the headlines for their violence and graphic content, their ability to distract children from education and real play, and even for their qualities that leave some children with a debilitating addiction to the screen. It may surprise you then to find that, under reasonable circumstances, video games make kids smarter.

Researchers have recognized the benefits of video games for kids in studies that connect common aspects of game play with cognitive development. “Many of the abilities tapped by such games are precisely those that psychologists consider to be the basic building blocks of intelligence,” writes research professor Peter Gray in Psychology Today. This may come as a relief to parents.

How Video Games Make Kids Smarter

Decision-Making Skills

PBS highlights the decision-making benefits that video games confer upon children, which encourages them to develop their sense of autonomy. For example, many games involve some form of currency that the player will need to manage in order to advance the mission. There are also countless strategic situations that require children to make critical choices in order to prevent a “game over” scenario.

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