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The Educational Benefits of Video Games

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Haley is a professional nerd who is paid to break stuff. Her spare time is filled with video games—mostly RPG and FPS.

Although some people argue that video games only teach violence, new studies are showing otherwise.

Although some people argue that video games only teach violence, new studies are showing otherwise.

Benefits of Video Games

There are plenty of arguments mad against video games; however, there are actually a plethora of benefits for the young (and not so young) adults playing games. Since today’s society no longer values stories passed on orally, video games have taken the place in modern lives that use to be filled with fairy tales. Video games have the ability to teach morals, they allow children to foster a sense of independence in a safe, closed environment, reinforce the fact that all actions have reactions, increase confidence, and allow individuals to create, and maintain relationships through long distances.

Elders Arguing Against Technology

Parental organizations and politicians have banded together to try to ban children's access to certain video games, that they view to be “too violent.” (Anderson) The internet has a saturation of articles spouting the risks and dangers of allowing children to play video games for too long. However, there is a possibility that once again the older generations are blaming new technology for the imperfection they see in our changing society.

In an article published in Psychology Today, Peter Gray reminds his readers that Plato warned against plays and poetry because they are a danger to youth. Elders argued against writing, because it would damage the ability to remember things, and later, when books became more economical, that novels were demoralizing the dainty minds of women. This fear of the new was played out once again, when televisions began to invade American homes. Similar arguments were made against each new technology that they would be physically, psychologically, and socially damaging. (Gray)

There are plenty of educational games on the market, that can strengthen learning skills. If played with family members or other children, they can strengthen social skills as well.

There are plenty of educational games on the market, that can strengthen learning skills. If played with family members or other children, they can strengthen social skills as well.

Video Games Are Modern Day Fairy Tales

Tolkien is characterized as one of the most influential, if not the most, prominent fantasy writer. His books are considered the modern day forms of written fairy tales. (Jaquelyn and Celia) His definition of what a fairy tale is lies more in where the story is set than if fairies are actually present, “The realm of fairy-story is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and an ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords.” (Tolkien) By Tolkien's definition a fairy tale does not have to include fairies, but simply be in a separate world that takes the reader or player to another realm so that they can enjoy adventure, and escape from their normal lives.

Daphne Bavelier: Your brain on video games

Video Games Teach Children Responsibility

Video games have the advantage of replacing the oral stories that were used to educate children on the differences between good and bad, and to enforce the value of noble morals. With games that allow for a more open society, they also have the added benefit of teaching children responsibility for their actions through the decisions that they have made. Games such as Fable, show how good and bad choices will affect the story line, the character’s options, and even the character’s appearance.

Every action within the game has a reaction, which makes for not only good game play, but also a not-so-subtle message about life. This ability to choose and make decisions is through giving thought to the adventure is an important reason that fairy tales have stuck around for so long, and why video games are likely to stick around for a while, as well. In Zipe’s book Why Fairy Tales Stick he talks about what make good literature for children, and the phrase ”video games” could very easily replace the word “literature” and still hold true. “Good literature for children provokes them to think seriously and critically for themselves, against the grain, and provides hope that they can find the moral and ethical vigor not only you survive, but to live happily with the social codes that they create themselves and enjoy to their heart's content.” (Zipes)

In a recent news article, BBC education news correspondent Hannah Richardson urges parents, teachers, and schools that “should be allowed to learn from personal mistakes.” (Richardson) Citing that this is an important process of growing up, and forming their own ideas and independence. Video games allow children to do just that; experience and process failure in a safe environment. They can try to jump over a gorge one hundred times before succeeding, but since they will not be physically hurt, they can have the stamina to approach the problem differently until they garner the result that they are after. This problem solving skill is necessary in most high level jobs, and it could be gained through working through an Algebra chapter, or in a child’s spare time through play.

The audience that plays video games is growing to include more diverse groups or people, but the common thread seems to be that everyone loves pizza.

The audience that plays video games is growing to include more diverse groups or people, but the common thread seems to be that everyone loves pizza.

Video Games Give a Sense of Accomplishment

Video games can also give children and adults a sense of accomplishment that leads to real life results. According to Huffington Post, “And just 90 seconds of playing a game like World of Warcraft - where you have a powerful avatar - can boost the confidence of colleges students so much that for up to 24 hours later, they're more likely to be successful taking a test at school.” (McGonigal) This rise in confidence found in playing an online game is not generally found in fairy tales, though few parents would attempt to limit their child’s exposure to traditional stories. “Unlike fairy tales, games can provide an empowerment that transcends the often-overt moral message of fairy tales, especially as they were redirected at controlling children in the Victorian age.” (Jaquelyn and Celia)

Video Games Help to Reinforce Long Distance Relationships

So long as a game system can connect to the internet, there is the ability to build and maintain friendships. Video games can create and maintain social bonds through consistent collaboration and regular contact. Yes, some of these bonds are long distance, however, in our changing society with our ever shrinking world, this is not a challenge to “real friendship” like it would have been in earlier time periods. Xbox and Playstation have both realized the importance of long-distance socialization to their clients that they have begun to implement socialization tools into every aspect of their consoles, including the ability to use the chat function while playing games, or watching movies. (Crecente)

In an article on Kotaku, Brian Crecente talks about how important the ability to socialize through gaming has been for him as an army brat. World of Warcraft is an online game that allows players to bond through teamwork of “raiding” dungeons and defeating monsters. I have friends who have become quite close with people in their online guild, or who create guilds of people that they know in real life, then use the game to reinforce their bonds of friendship. In today’s society it is common to move to a different town, or state across the country for school, a new job, or an old boyfriend. However, we know have the tools to keep in touch with old friends, while still blowing off steam while we blow up a doomguard.

As a generation of latch-key children, we often missed hearing fairy tales from our parents. Statistically it’s possible that most of us had two working parents, and the probability is high that they may have been divorced. We have inherited a country with a growing amount of debt, and to finish college our personal debt may rival that of our countries. We are a generation that needs our fairy tales, and momentary escapes from reality. Video games help users relax, connect, learn, and explore.

Educational Websites

Website NameURLEducational Topic

Academic Skill Builder

Grade 1-6

Sheppard Software

Math, language arts, science


Reading Comprehension

Que Onda


Works Cited

Anderson, Jefferey H. "Weekly Standard: Violent Games Are No Fairy Tale." 1 July 2011. <>.

Crecente, Brian. "The Secret to Long-Distance Friendships Could be Online Gaming." 7 Feb 2011. Kotaku. 29 Oct 2013.

Gray, Peter. "The Many Benefits, for Kids, of Playing Video Games." n.d. Psychology Today. <>.

Jaquelyn, Ford Morie and Pearce Celia. "Uses of Digital Enchantment: Computer Games as the New Fairy Tales." n.d. Georgia Institute of Technology. <>.

McGonigal, Jane. "Video Games: An Hour A Day Is Key To Success In Life." 15 Feb 2011. Huffington Post. 28 October 2013.

Richardson, Hannah. "Children 'should be allowed to learn from own mistakes'." April 2013. BBC News.

Tolkien, J.R.R. Tree and Leaf. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1965.


peachy from Home Sweet Home on November 11, 2014:

i don't like video games but my son does, he is 7 yrs old. A total addict

Nicoli Clause from United States of America on June 04, 2014:

@ JayeWisdom The problem isn't "violent" games, its people that can't distinguish between the alternate realities, or further put, those with a mental illness. Many people play video games, some of which may be based on the concept of Sex, Drugs & Killing spree's such as Grand Theft Auto, but, only a few may actually be impacted in a negative way.

Alternatively, based upon the same premise, I could argue that we should ban Football because it is promoting violence & can be seen by the players such as Aaron Hernandez for the Patriots (an argument of faulty reasoning's and hasty generalizations).

My parents always read, they would try to get me to read as well, but, frankly I hated it with a passion. The more the pressured me the more I rebelled and ultimately created a profound hate for anything educational. They may have blamed video games, but, in reality it was 'bad' parenting.

It was actually AOL instant messenger and other various forms of technology that have brought me into a love of reading. I hardly read books though I do have my favorite authors. But, I am constantly reading online. After some growing up I am averaging a 3.2 GPA at various universities, technology allowed me to live up to my full potential. Games aren't bad, mental health is as portrayed by Sandy Hook or Aurora.

Nicoli Clause from United States of America on June 04, 2014:

I have been playing PC games since the age of 8 & can even remember using DOS to do so & Nintendo since I was born and I couldn't agree more. A lot of people fail to see the benefits that come out of "Gaming" of course different games give & take certain abilities when playing.

Strategy games such as Command & Conquer could be compared to a modern (and very complex) day chess as you are constantly thinking about your opponents moves and the best course of action to "win" or solve a problem.

MMO Games such as Dota can build teamwork, not every one is good at physical sports so the concept of E-Sports still allows you to build team building skills and leadership & make friends in the process. It wouldn't be so wrong to say that it has the ability to change lives as you can ask famous E-Sport gamers such as "Dendi" from Dota who he & his team has won over 1 million dollars from tournaments & we are coming up on the international 4 which boasts the largest E-Sports prize pool in gaming history, 6 million and rising.

Playing with international players I have learned some Russian & German and how to cooperate an be accepting of other players despite our differences in culture. Even games such as Call of Duty and other sharpshooters allow you to build leadership and communication skills as well as increasing your reflexes and focus that may help in daily activities such as driving.

Perhaps parents aren't sold yet, but, games that may be considered "Sandbox" such as Dream allow you to figure out complex puzzles and allow for better spatial reasoning skills. To say I didn't learn from video games or say they haven't helped my life is complete ludicrous.

I am turning 26 and still play video games avidly, good article, perhaps it will put video games into a perspective that allows people to see past "Wasting lives in an 'online realm' & creating violence". I too played Grand Theft Auto from a young age and I turned out perfectly fine.

Chin chin from Philippines on June 02, 2014:

My kids like to play video games. I agree with the pros you have shared, but there are also cons. So I believe in having rules in playing video games such as when and how long to play and which games are allowed for kids.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on June 02, 2014:

Congrats on HOTD. There are pros and cons on this subject. I have an 18yr. old son who loves to play games with his buddies in the evening. I'd rather him be home playing his games than "running the streets" and getting into trouble like some teens do.

As long as the parent watches the games their youngsters play, I have to agree with your findings.

Voted UP and shared.

whitemuse on June 02, 2014:

I can see your point that video games can be fun. I can also understand the idea some have about the violence. Maybe you have not seen some that portray women as hookers etc. Some children are not of age to buy them.

As in X rated movies I don't really see it as a good idea for them to see or play them. I don't think it is just elders either. The games can be a waste of time. They are made by the video gamers especially to be appealing. The Sims is one game I know that is just set in time and nothing really happens. It develops a false sense in them I am afraid. A very high IQ child has stated them a waste of time.

Amie Butchko from Warwick, NY on June 02, 2014:

I LOVE this hub! I have wanted to do a hub on this very subject, but was too chicken and not informed enough to articulate your above very relevant, practical and convincing points about the benefits of playing video games. My children are definitely in the group that would play video games all day long if I were not there to deter them. This hub makes me feel so much better today and may provide me with a little break in vigilance.... at least for one night!