For Parents

Video games can be point of contention amongst parents – some allow them, others do not, citing the possibility of addiction and violence as key points against them. As with anything, the reality is often not black and white but shades of grey. There are good and bad aspects to gaming that need to be understood in order to make an informed decision about whether or not you allow games in your home.

Some experts argue that gaming can actually be good for kids learning primary maths, it all depends on the game and the parameters that are set around the use of screen time. There are in fact many excellent educational games out there that help kids learn everything from spelling, maths problem solving and science. Some are so good and beneficial that teachers are even incorporating them their maths lesson plans and writing activities to engage kids that otherwise may have difficulty learning. A great place to source valuable teaching resources is a learningplacea teachingplace which has great ideas for making maths learning fun. There are many highly informative videos to watch about maths principles on this website and for a small fee you can access to a range of downloadable resources also.

Games can be great for kids to learn goal setting skills and problem solving techniques. Many games have different levels and challenges for players to complete. For instance, some maths games teach kids key concepts such as addition mental strategies to then apply to real world maths problems solving tasks. Some games also have assessment sections that let kids set challenges for themselves in order to get a real sense of achievement when they reach their goals or learn ways to better deal with the concepts of failing and trying again.

Choose games wisely! Obviously, steer away from violent and inappropriate themes for your kids. Look out for games that encourage learning and positive social tasks and be sure to do your research on the game from trusted sources. Importantly, before giving the game to your kids, play it yourself to make sure it is well designed and beneficial to your child and has no hidden agendas. You should also set dedicated times around gaming or it can get out hand quite easily. Set a time and a place in which gaming is permitted – for example 1 hour a day in the living room so you can keep an eye on what games they are actually playing. Certain games and apps also provide additional activities to be played without a digital device such as fun spelling or maths activities to introduce maths and English into everyday life.

Whether or not you let your kids play games is totally up to you in the end. Whatever you decide, make sure your kids also get plenty of outside time and physical activity to keep them fit and healthy.