For adults it’s often difficult to imagine that spending hours in front of a computer screen can have many benefits for our children. However parents despairing in the amount of time their child spends playing video games should take heart, as new research suggests it may stand them in good stead later in life.
Gaming can help young men and women develop key skills such as communication and resourcefulness, according to a study by a Glasgow University academic. Matt Barr, a lecturer in Information Studies said his findings indicate that modern video games can encourage players to think critically and solve problems, the types of qualities which are seen as useful for graduates. The small study included 36 undergraduates split into two distinct groups.
The first was a control group while the second, with 16 pupils, were asked to play eight video games including Borderlands 2, Minecraft and Lara Croft, under controlled conditions, logging 14 hours of play in total over an eight-week period. The findings showed that the team that played the games showed improvements on communication, adaptability and resourcefulness scales when compared with the control group.
All the games were linked to appropriate age groups and there was no other functionality required. For instance no-one used cracked games or a VPN to bypass any blocks.
Mr Barr said: “Modern video games frequently require players to be flexible and resourceful, and locating numerous means of accomplishing a task. The way games are designed frequently encourages critical thinking and reflective learning, commonly cited as desirable attributes in graduates ”
He added: “My research is maybe what every parent might or, in the case of a few, may not like to hear. “This work demonstrates that playing with commercial video games can have a positive effect on communication capability, adaptability and resourcefulness in adult students, indicating that video games may have a role to play in higher education. ”
The study also suggests that graduate skills may be improved in a relatively short quantity of time, together with the gains reported here attained over a period of fourteen days and representing only 14 hours of match play. “Certainly, the outcome of the randomised controlled trial described here suggest that the popular discourse about matches’ alleged ill consequences should be tempered by considerations of their potential positive effects of playing video games . ”