Do you really have enough time to save the galaxy while trying to earn a degree? That’s a question many parents ask themselves when getting ready to ship the kids off to college. There may have been enough time for video games after homework or during the weekends during high school but, once the kids are on their own, can you be sure that video games won’t become too much of a distraction?
You might be surprised to discover that, more and more, video games are actually garnering attention for their positive influences such as bolstering self-confidence, strengthening connections and sharpening the ole’ noodle to boot. In other words, rather than being seen as a hurdle for succeeding in college, video games can instead be utilized as a tool for navigating those uncertain collegiate waters and help guarantee success.
A social experience
Nowadays, video games are all about the social experience. Half of the titles hitting store shelves feature some sort of multiplayer component, allowing players to interact with one another as they work to overthrow a terrorist threat in a game like Battlefield 4. At this point, it’s likely that your student already plays online games with many of their personal friends. Gaming in college will allow those relationships to continue, making the transition to life outside the home a little less daunting. And many game systems even come with social applications like Facebook, Skype and other types of video chat, meaning they’ll be able to stay connected with old buds or, or for those families that already game together, with each other. A recent article from Kevin Vadala on Uloop addresses this very aspect of college gaming, highlighting studies that show the beneficial impacts of video games on social behavior. Vadala holds that games should be “respected for what they are,” as well as for “what students can do with them.”
Games are also good for unwinding. College life can be hectic, and the workload is typically greater than most students have grown used to. Having a familiar pastime to fall back on and unwind with can serve as a sort of comfort blanket for college students, giving them a way to escape the hustle and bustle of academics for a short jaunt of making things explode or driving cars really, really fast. The Huffington Post broke some of these qualities down into nine ways video games can be helpful, pinpointing the fact that their greatest strength is that they allow you to exercise your brain. Video games also help with problem solving, hand and eye coordination and, in their own weird way, even serve as a form of counseling to help players work through their own problems and day to day lives.
An exercise in responsibility
Similar to how many parents utilize video games at home, they can serve as a great tool for learning responsibility at college. Allowing your student to take their game console with them shows that you trust them to use it appropriately. The only way to learn time management is to experience it first-hand, and balancing video games with academics and a social life are a good way to put those skills to the test before getting hoisted out into the real world. A piece by Jese Peek for The Aviso also highlights the idea of money management in relation to video games, saying that video games can become an “economical and rewarding” activity when balanced with other needs in terms of both finances and free time.