There have been numerous attempts to introduce innovative learning techniques recently, which provide different perspectives on the benefits of video games in the sphere. For instance, the idea of video game use in higher education is currently widely discussed by scholars (Vlachopoulos and Makri, 2017, p. 2). I firmly believe that there are multiple potential benefits that can vary significantly depending on the contents, as the video game format is simply a type of media. Video games have proven to increase students’ motivation substantially; they provide numerous ways of interaction and allow for cheap simulation; they enhance the sense of belonging and teamwork.
Firstly, video games feature a wide range of latent, highly beneficial opportunities. For example, “latent characteristics of video games include positive elements such as taking responsibility, creativity, and multiculturalism” (Matijević and Topolovčan, 2019, p. 2). The wide variety of video games helps to provide comprehensive knowledge of numerous phenomena for children and teenagers. The complexity of the available games is constantly increasing as developers seek to make them as realistic as possible. Thus, the format can prove to be a highly inspiring and cost-efficient educational tool, as millions are granted an opportunity to visit multiple real-life locations and even historical periods with the help of certain games. Moreover, the advances in virtual reality technologies may enhance efficiency even further by introducing various experiences associated with the above-mentioned phenomena.
The development of physical puzzles and games that are aimed at the enhancement of various cognitive abilities is generally considered an expensive undertaking. Therefore, parents, kindergartens, and schools have limited resources concerning the purchase of these items. Thus, the ability of a developer to sell a complete game with additional negligent costs allows multiple children and teenagers to obtain a copy of the game for a fraction of a price of a real-world analog.
Moreover, the techniques that can be generated via coding are often superior to those that can be achieved through traditional manufacturing. According to Chuang, Yeh, and Lin (2021, p. 34), puzzle adventure games have proven instrumental in cultivating reasoning ability. Given the remarkable role of a variety of media, forms, and content in children’s development, digital options represent the most efficient option for people worldwide. Moreover, it often becomes the only viable solution in numerous communities, especially during economic crises. Therefore, the role of that form should not be undermined.
Modern video games are designed to be challenging, as this is the primary factor that contributes to customers’ purchase decisions in this industry. Thus, the sophisticated nature of such games motivates children to develop skills that are currently highly valued in the job market. “Video gaming is known to have some benefits such as improving focus, multitasking, and working memory” (Von der Heiden et al., 2019, p. 2). However, some may argue that not all children and teenagers use such opportunities. Although this may be true, there are few other formats that can inspire them to do so. Thus, the video game format, by definition, appeals to a wide range of students and motivates them to develop valuable qualities.
Secondly, computer games encourage teamwork and help develop a sense of belonging. “Many video games involve social practices, from online playing in massively multiplayer online role-playing games to player-generated contents” (Scolari and Contreras-Espinosa, 2019, p. 3). The increasing efficiency of information technologies constantly contributes to the evolution of video games. Interaction with real players through various communication tools has already become common practice in the industry. Therefore, the vast majority of modern video games allow for new ways of cooperation models of complexity levels that cannot be achieved in traditional board games and outdoor activities.
More importantly, emerging evidence suggests that this favorite pastime of modern teenagers has already become one of the most popular forms of communication. For example, “boys use video games as a way to spend time and engage in day-to-day interactions with their peers and friends” (Anderson et al., 2015, p. 4). Nowadays, classmates often rush home after lessons instead of playing outdoors with the aiming of joining each other in online video games.
There are multiple social phenomena that teenagers have little chance of encountering during adolescence. At the same time, the number of challenging issues concerning communication with peers, love, and finance rapidly increases when a person reaches eighteen. Thus, video games provide unprecedentedly detailed simulations that can prepare teenagers to overcome everyday challenges in an efficient manner. “Games and/or simulations have a positive impact on learning goals” (Vlachopoulos and Makri, 2017, p. 10). Therefore, it is essential to cooperate with the primary game developers in order to create games that can provide valuable knowledge concerning the above-mentioned phenomena.
Children and teenagers have proven to be enthusiastic about building highly hierarchical societies that may resemble the society in which they live. Given the incompetence in various types of conflict mitigation and cooperation, such complex developed by adolescents turn out to be brutal and feature different types of bullying. The video game format deprives a handful of physically solid and hyperactive peers of the opportunity to gain substantial control over peers. Instead, equally essential roles in video games encourage the most efficient forms of cooperation, which results in more altruistic behavior in real life.
The Sims, a popular game series that provides a simulation of multiple spheres of life, provides another prominent example, as it has proven to be highly beneficial for adolescents. Teenagers can learn about various social norms that underpin different types of relationships. Moreover, various game modes provide valuable insights concerning household management and construction. The game features a sophisticated system of currency that imitates that of the real world. Children and teenagers can learn to balance income and costs in an efficient way, which has become essential in the modern experience-oriented consumerist world. Thus, video game simulation can significantly enhance people’s approach to personal finance by making it rational.
On the other hand, some may argue that digital simulation may often replace real-life communication. Although this may be true, for most children and teenagers, video games remain a tool that helps them always stay in touch and further enhance communication skills. Thus, the computer game format provides yet another opportunity for interaction and does not rival the importance of real communication.
Thirdly, video games can be essential for instilling specific values in children and teenagers and enhancing their personalities. For example, people develop “healthy values and relationships directly through playing video games during their preadolescent years” (Halim, 2013, p. 4). Alongside TV series and YouTube bloggers, video games have become highly influential in the personal development of teenagers. Recognizing the remarkable level of responsibility and public attention, major video game studios have enhanced the main characters of various games and incorporated multiple social phenomena in-game plots.
Therefore, it is essential to perceive game developers as a critical type of media and provide them with precise guidelines concerning the desired positive effect on teenagers’ behavior. According to Markey (2016, p. 7), video games do not undermine the development of a hierarchy of values. In contrast, some may argue that certain games have abundant violent scenes that can have an impact on teenagers’ perception of ethics. Although this may be true, the vast majority of the games are not based on violence and provide a sophisticated simulation of different types of communication and spheres of life. Thus, choosing the games that are appropriate for children and teenagers of a particular age can ensure that they have a solely positive influence on the development of skills and personal qualities.
In conclusion, I would like to state that video games remain a highly controversial phenomenon that may feature both positive and negative effects concerning education opportunities. Nevertheless, the proper attention to game choice can ensure a largely beneficial influence on students’ development and learning process. Moreover, video games currently follow social media in the list of the most common spots for meeting peers online (Anderson et al., 2015, p. 3). Thus, video games should be considered an efficient tool that can be successfully applied to enhance the learning process. Therefore, it is crucial to use such an opportunity in a timely manner and create interactive, engaging games designed to motivate students to develop skills and acquire knowledge.
Anderson, M. et al. (2015) Teens, technology & friendships. Pew Research Center. Web.
Chuang, T.Y., Yeh, M.K.C. and Lin, Y.L. (2021) ‘The impact of game playing on students’ reasoning ability, varying according to their cognitive style,’ Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 24(3), pp. 34–48. Web.
Halim, P.Y.L. (2013) Video gaming in the classroom: insights and ideas from teenage students. MA thesis. The University of British Columbia. Web.
Markey, P.M. (2016) ‘Video games and mental health,’ in Friedman, H. (ed.) Encylopedia of Mental Health. 2nd. Ed. Oxford: Elsevier Ltd., pp. 356–361.
Matijević, M. and Topolovčan, T. (2019) ‘Informal learning among teenagers through video games: a qualitative analysis of experiences, game modes and didactic benefits,’ Revija Za Elementarno Izobraževanje, 12(1), pp. 1–26. Web.
Scolari, C.A. and Contreras-Espinosa, R.S. (2019) ‘How do teens learn to play video games?’, Journal of Information Literacy, 13(1), pp. 45–61. Web.
Vlachopoulos, D. and Makri, A. (2017) ‘The effect of games and simulations on higher education: a systematic literature review,’ International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 14(1), pp. 1–33. Web.
Von der Heiden, J.M. et al. (2019) ‘The association between video gaming and psychological functioning,’ Frontiers in Psychology, 10, pp. 1–11. Web.