Benefits of video games for kids

Yalda Uhls, MBA, PhD, Regional Director of Common Sense Media, shares advice for parents on how video games, when regulated, can have benefits on their children
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Benefits of video games for kids

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I like to tell parents that video games are actually not all bad. A lot of parents get terrified about video games, and they really get terrified about the violence in video games - understandably, there is some really graphic stuff out there, but actually there is a lot of research on video games that shows that video games can have some learning benefits. A lot of parents are worried about the amount of time some of their children play video games, but there has been a lot of research on the cognitive effects of video games, starting from the '90s. For example, because when kids play video games, when you think about it, there are things all over the screen, there is hand/eye co-ordination, and there is a great learning between what they see and spatial representation, and the way that things are manipulated on the screen. Kids understand object movement and things, and a lot of kids can learn that from video games. There is research showing that this kind of learning underlies mathematical learning and many of the stem learning, which is science, technology, engineering and mathematics, so it can be very beneficial, and there is actually research showing that video game is correlated with academic achievement, for girls in particular. I often tell parents it's okay to let your child play video games, as long as you make sure you are regulating the content and the time.

Yalda Uhls, MBA, PhD, Regional Director of Common Sense Media, shares advice for parents on how video games, when regulated, can have benefits on their children

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Yalda T. Uhls, MBA, PhD

Regional Director, Common Sense Media

Yalda T. Uhls, MBA, PhD, is the Regional Director of Common Sense Media, the leading non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. Yalda's own research with the Children's Digital Media at UCLA was written about in the New York Times, CNN, Time Magazine, The Huffington Post, and more. As an expert on media’s effects on children, Yalda has been featured on the BBC News, KPCC, the LA Times and many other news outlets. Her awards include UCLA's Psychology in Action Award for excellence in communicating psychological research to audiences beyond academia as well as honorable mention for the National Science Foundation's GSRF. Yalda's former career as a Senior VP at MGM, in film production, informs her perspective that media content has great power to socialize children, to inspire and teach as well as to be used inappropriately. In her talks, she brings her deep knowledge of the latest research about how children ages eight to 18 use media, as well as a realistic understanding of how digital natives use media from her experiences with her two children, ages 10 and 13.  Her newest book, Media Moms & Digital Dads: A Fact-Not-Fear Approach to Parenting in the Digital Age will be published in Fall 2015. 

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