When parents are asked to think of wholesome activities to do with their child, they might respond with singing nursery rhymes to playing catch in the yard. But now researchers at the Arizona State University Center for Games and Impact says that some video games are actually good for developing kids’ skills – and they get even better when parents join in.
The researchers indicate that kids love to interact with parents while they play, so even if the parent doesn’t join in, they can still ask the child to explain their strategy or the rules of the game. But even better is co-operative multi-player. Minecraft is one ideal environment for parent-child gaming, since it’s a 3D environment where you can build projects together. But if your child is mature enough (or aggressive enough), plain old first-person shooters can be fun on a server when you team up as a family against online opponents.
It makes sense that gaming together would be a bonding activity important to children. Kids are the digital natives of each gaming platform, after all. Interacting with a parent in a game’s universe lets the kid handle the interaction on their own terms, in a universe where they feel capable and confident. Whether it’s two-player Mario hopping around after coins, or wizards in Warcraft slaughtering orcs, virtual universes are just one more opportunity to share a family bonding experience. And who knows, your child might even be helpful in completing that one raid boss you can’t get on your own.