Sunday, November 29, 2020

Using Video Games to Teach Social Skills and Mor

 

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Image via Pexels

 By Jenna Sherman 


According to experts, one of the largest hurdles faced by children with craniofacial differences is gaining acceptance among their peers. Video games can be a valuable tool for teaching kids social skills that make them more accepting of children who look different. The Children’s Craniofacial Association wants to help children be happy and healthy, so read on.
 
Learning Social Skills Through Video Games
Video games allow students of varying physical abilities to engage their imaginations while learning valuable skills in ways they may not as easily accomplish in the physical world. A variety of social skills can be learned through cooperative and competitive gaming.
 
Collaboration
In multiplayer cooperative games, AMLE explains that the players must learn how to work together to accomplish goals. These games help children learn how to formulate and execute a plan with other children.
 
Ethical and Moral Judgment
Many parents are concerned that violent video games, such as the popular Fortnite franchise, may teach their children immoral attitudes towards killing and violence. However, many games reward the player for demonstrating kindness, sacrifice, honesty and other positive attributes.
 
Communication
Video games involve more than just pushing buttons. Whether it is simply speaking to the person sitting next to you, communicating through text in an online-chat or talking to children around the world over a headset, video games offer a variety of opportunities to improve communication skills.
 
Friendship
In-person multiplayer games have provided an opportunity for children to bond for decades, but Internet Matters points out that the world of online multiplayer games has created even more opportunities. Kids can make friends from anywhere in the world when playing games online, and some of these friendships last a lifetime.
 
Games That Build Social Skills
Almost any multiplayer game can be used to build social skills, but some are better options than others. Here are a few favorites:

Whyville
Whyville is a collection of online games that specifically focuses on educating users. Whyville features a tight-knit community that can help your child find and maintain friendships. Some users report having joined the site at a young age and maintaining friendships they made there through adulthood.

Smarty Pants
Smarty Pants is like Trivial Pursuit for kids. The game makes it possible for kids and grownups of varying skill levels to compete using age-targeted trivia questions. This allows kids to learn how to compete in a friendly way.

Minecraft
Minecraft is one of the most popular video games of all time. This world-building game teaches creativity and problem solving while also providing a place to socialize with friends.

What To Watch Out For
While there are many positive aspects of gaming, there are a few downfalls to watch out for. First, while many gaming systems are fairly straightforward, it does take a bit of technological know-how and a fast internet connection to get going. Before you commit to a gaming system, make sure you know how to set it up and that you have an internet plan, such as fiber optic cable, that can handle large downloads and online gameplay without lag.

Additionally, some games, such as the Mortal Kombat series, are intended for adults and may be too violent or have other objectionable content. Online play comes with risks that range from bad language to online predators. Parents should always supervise their children when playing any multiplayer game. Also, gaming can be addictive for some children. It is important to monitor your child's screen time and set appropriate limitations on play.

Because video games take place in the digital world, they can be a perfect environment for children to learn the values of kindness, empathy and acceptance in a relatively risk-free environment while giving hope to children who may still be struggling with real-world interactions. These virtual skills can then be translated into real-world experiences.

Connect with the Children’s Craniofacial Association for more information, ideas, resources and support for raising happy and healthy kids!

Jenna Sherman created Parent Leaders to be all about what parents can do to make sure their children grow up to be strong, independent, successful adults. By providing a collection of valuable, up-to-date, authoritative resources, she hopes to help other parents acquire the skills they need to raise future leaders. Jenna is mom to three children -- two girls and a boy.

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