Four Moments When Video Games Are Good for Kids (and How to Make Them Even Better)

Illustration by Allison Steen

Excerpt from this article:

Video games — particularly when it comes to children and their passion for them — can get a bad rap. There are days when it feels as if there is no greater enemy of homework than Minecraft, and many parents find limiting game time to be one of their larger challenges.

But research suggests that there are moments in a child’s life when a love of video games, and the skills that come with it, can do more than just come in handy. The right video game, deployed at the right moment, can help a child overcome trauma, handle pre-surgery anxiety, bond with a sibling or just feel generally more confident and capable after a setback.

Jane McGonigal, game designer and author of “SuperBetter” and “Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World,” has been studying games as well as designing them for more than a decade. In “SuperBetter,” she argues that adopting a more gameful approach to life can make all of us, adult and child, “stronger, happier, braver and more resilient.”