Gaming isn’t that bad for kids, say experts

Well, experts who support games.

There has been plenty of back and forth on whether or not gaming has a positive impact on youth or a negative impact on them, but it looks like some experts on the subject believe that gaming (in moderation) is OK for kids.

“Gameplay is a form of blowing off steam,” said Constance Steinkuehler, a professor of informatics at UC Irvine and president of the Higher Education Video Game Alliance. “It’s a form of leisure. And it’s the one media that turns screen time into activity time.”

Steinkuehler noted that time spent in front of a screen should be in moderation, but that some time playing wasn't as bad as some make it out to be. According to  Steinkuehler, most researchers embrace the idea that “play is good” – as long as it isn't keeping kids from doing their homework.

Another expert, Scot Osterweil, creative director for MIT’s Education Arcade, a program that promotes gaming in educational settings, said that if games make kids more violent, we'd see it by now. On top of that, gaming could help with skill development.

“If there was a correlation between video games and violence, we should see it,” he said.“In most video games, kids are being challenged to do difficult things to master gameplay,” he said. “That's not a bad thing and could be developing skills that will extend beyond the game.”

Magy Seif El-Nasr, director of the Game Design Program at Northeastern University went on to suggest that gaming can be used as bonding time.

“Make it a bonding activity,” she said. “It allows you to spend time with your kids and talk to them.”

Basically, if you ask the professors who have already embraced gaming, they are going to tell you to embrace it too (in moderation).