Video Games Are Good for You, Says High-Tech Parenting Expert

NEW YORK, NY (April 10, 2012) – Video games can be a hugely positive part of kids’ and adults’ lives, offering pronounced health, learning and career benefits, says Scott Steinberg, author of the bestselling The Modern Parent’s Guide high-tech parenting series. In addition to critically-acclaimed book The Modern Parent’s Guide to Kids and Video Games, readers can now download and share a free tip sheet from www.ParentsGuideBooks.com that reveals the many educational, physical and job-related benefits gaming offers.

“Video games promote exercise and physical activity, encourage socialization and leadership, and foster dynamic problem-solving and decision-making skills – all areas of tremendous benefit to kids and adults alike,” Steinberg explains. With research by leading schools, scientists and public organizations increasingly showing the positive nature of play, and the vast majority of software now titles being family-friendly, it’s time to abandon outdated thinking, he cautions. “Parents, politicians and educators frequently criticize video games as an alleged waste of time that distracts kids from healthier activities such as homework and outdoor play,” Steinberg says. “But research is quickly demonstrating that gaming can be a perfectly beneficial and well-rounded part of a healthy, balanced media diet.”

Among recent findings:

·         Harvard Medical School researcher Cheryl Olson, ScD, whose research included surveying data from interviews with over 1,000 public-school students, found that “parent-approved video games played in moderation can help young kids develop in educational, social, and physical ways.” Even everyday games not labeled specifically as educational teaching tools, she says in an article for Parents magazine, can encourage planning, problem solving, and creative self-expression, and can spark interest in history or geography. Still more encourage socialization, exercise, healthy competition, and leadership.

·         Dr. Jeffrey Taekman, director of Duke University's Human Simulation and Patient Safety Center states that "serious games and virtual environments are the future of education." Besides giving students the ability to freely experiment with plausible real-world scenarios (e.g. dealing with cultural differences or irate customers), such simulations offer myriad upsides, he says. Chief among them are the ability to respond to evolving scenarios, make more informed choices (often made under lifelike duress), immediately see resulting consequences, and shift tactics dynamically as situations dictate.

·         Findings from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) indicate that video games can help adults to process information much faster and improve their fundamental abilities to reason and solve problems in novel contexts. Studies show that game players perform 10-20% higher in terms of perceptual and cognitive ability than non-game players.

·         A study published in Archives of Surgery says that surgeons who regularly play video games are generally more skilled at performing laparoscopic surgery.

·         Findings by Daphne Bavelier, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, reveal that video gamers show real-world improvements on tests of attention, accuracy, vision, and multitasking after playing certain titles.

·         After playing a 90-minute hurricane procedural training simulation developed for New York’s Office of Emergency Management, nine in 10 users felt surer of their ability to assist with actual disasters.

·         From Cisco to IBM, NASA to Nortel, government and corporate leaders are increasingly turning to principles of gamification to enhance productivity, sales, and job satisfaction. According to an Entertainment Software Association study, nearly 80% of major employers plan to implement interactive software and games-based training by 2013.

·         The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) has proclaimed that kids need more, not less, video game play. “The success of complex video games demonstrates that games can teach higher-order thinking skills such as strategic thinking, interpretative analysis, problem solving, plan formulation and execution, and adaptation to rapid change,” it says. “These are the skills U.S. employers increasingly seek in workers and new workforce entrants.”

For more information on gaming’s benefits and making technology safe and fun for parents and kids alike, readers can also reference The Modern Parent’s Guide range of books at www.ParentsGuideBooks.com. The world’s first high-tech parenting series covering all aspects of connected life, The Modern Parent’s Guide series provides families with the practical, real-world hints, tips and tools they need to make technology a positive and rewarding part of household life.

First volume The Modern Parent’s Guide to Kids and Video Games is available now as a free PDF download, or in eBook format on Sony Reader and Amazon Kindle devices. To download the book or tip sheet, readers can visit www.VideoGamesAndKids.com.

About the Author

High-tech parenting expert Scott Steinberg is the CEO of business consulting firm TechSavvy Global, Sears Toy Shop’s tech toy expert and one of today’s most sought-after industry analysts, keynote speakers and expert witnesses. Hailed as a top tech and video game expert by dozens of publications from USA Today to NPR, he’s covered business, entertainment and consumer trends for 400+ outlets from Parents to Rolling Stone. A frequent on-air analyst for TV networks including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and CNN, he also hosts popular video shows Family Tech and Game Theory.

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