Why Kids Should Play More Video Games!
Why Kids Should Play More Video Games!
Do your children spend too much time in front of the computer?
Do you wish they would go out and "get a life" instead of immersing themselves in fantasy world of mythical characters venturing out on virtual quests in
Do you fear that so much time removed from the real world will mean they grow up as some kind of maladjusted, socially isolated, unemployable geek or nerd?
Surprisingly, new research would suggest that you might be totally wrong and that, in fact, your children's hobby is actually equipping them for a BETTER future! We already know that the old "shoot 'em up" type of arcade games improve hand-eye coordination. But it gets much better than that.
Over the last few years a whole new genre of interactive strategic games have been developed. These are collectively known as role-playing games (RPG's). Typically they involved taking on a character, and then wandering about a huge virtual world, seeking adventure and going on quests.
Along the way you will interact with various other players, and also no-player (computer controlled) characters. With some of these you may fight. With others you may trade. And, in the more sophisticated of the games, you may also recruit and train others in various "guilds". For an example, check out the newly launched, free game Qrealm: http://www.qrealm.com
For the uninitiated it may seem to be a lot of confusing and trivial fantasy nonsense that only weirdos would have any interest in. But it turns out that these games are actually providing an incredible training ground for future employees!
The world is changing fast - and especially the corporate world and job market. The types of skills required of modern day employees are quite a bit different from what was wanted of people 20 years ago.
No longer do employers want people who "just do as they are told" and expect a manual for every task. Now they want people who can think creatively for themselves.
There is now a heavy emphasis on problem-solving skills, on being able to experiment with new ways of tackling problems, on strategic thinking with specific goals in mind, on "thinking outside the box", and also on being able to interact and work with small teams.
What comes as a shock, is that video games lead to real leadership skills and pattern recognition skills that allow gamers to see patterns emerge in a rapidly changing world says, John Seely Brown, a former chief scientist of Xerox corporation who studied the effect of playing games on the development of workplace skills.
To become any good in these multiplayer RPG's there are a whole host of problems and obstacles that have to be solved. And, in games like Qrealm, you also have to be able to interact persuasively with other people.
And the conclusion reached by John C. Beck and Mitchell Wade, who studied 2500 gamers for their book: "Got Game: How the Gamer Generation is Reshaping Business Forever", is that far from being weird, today's gamers are well rounded individuals who enjoy outdoor sports, engage in cultural activities, and go on to climb corporate ladders using the same skills they developed to climb the high-scorers tables of online games such as Doom and Mortal Kombat.
So, if your kids are into games at all, send them down to http://www.qrealm.com to check it out - who knows, it might be just what they need to get that top job in Microsoft in 10 years time! (Oh, and yes, you can play it too!)
author of Why Kids Should Play More Video Games! is Dr Noel Swanson MD
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