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Parenting

Games are good for kids (except brain dead ones)

Computer and mobile games can be devided into three main categories: Strategic, reactive and braindead.

Strategic games

Success is based on planning your actions. Sometimes you have unlimited time to think, sometimes game goes on at some speed. In simple cases, the ultimate strategy is to gather and build everything (as fast as possible.) As simple as that is, it teaches planning ahead for children and older players.

If the basic concept of planning is clear, it’s time to move to more complex games that have plurar strategies but not one above all solution. For example Civilization series aims to that but there are plenty of others.

From educational point of view it would be best if the “right” solution would be different every time you play certain game, that leads to really think what is worth doing and what is not. If, anyway, the variations are only distractions like random disasters, that often results player just starting over.

Reactive

Reactive games are somehow based on player’s quick reactions. Most first person games are like this. These are good for reaction time but too much playing can lead player being on the alert all the time even when not playing. Violence can be involved, too. Age rating system gives some clue, but is not equivalent to violence only. In UK, ratings are legally enforceable (12, 16 and 18 years.) In addition to that, it is always advisable for parent to stay in touch what game really contains and talk about it with their kids.

Brain dead

Last and very least, the brain dead. I’m referring to those games that require no strategy or right time movement what so ever. The simpliest for of this is when you tap mobile screen to get points. And that tapping goes on and on and on … It’s hard to belive how much time can be consumed to this kind of game. There is others, bit less obvious forms of the same idea (or lack of idea.)

If your kid plays brain dead games, it’s advisable to lead him/her to some other activities.

To sum up, nothing is good in too heavy dose, but strategic or reactive games in proper age and proper amount do more good than harm teaching to plan, solve problems, react and be part of a social group. For braind dead tapping games, there is no excuse.

Categories
Parenting

Balancing simple and difficult tasks

You need the right kind of challenges to encourage child’s abilities. But not every challenge need to be as hard as the other. You obviously need some difficult ones but the beauty in simpler ones is that they build up kid’s self-confidence. So they will feel that they can solve problems and that’s a valuable lesson going forward in life and studies.

So, you shouldn’t be worried that some task (for example puzzle or maze) is too simple, as long as you keep an eye on the balance! Remember to take into account things they are doing in school: If school is difficult at the moment, maybe something simpler at home for balance and vice versa. That way your kid will build up both self-confidence and new skills.