There have been many studies conducted to show the effect of games in children. These have been conducted throughout universities and colleges across the States and Europe. The studies range from showing that games can promote good skills in children and their development to showing the negatives sides.
It is indisputable that games can have a negative effect in children, there are many aspects to games that are unrealistic and can make it hard to manage the child’s expectations of the real world, but it is possible for them to do good as well, especially if they are handled the correct way.
One study in particular, undertaken by a professor at Nottingham Trent University shows just what skills a child could stand to gain from video games and many of the skills can be passed along to Minecraft as an example of what it can achieve if it is utilized the right way by both children and parents.
The aim of the research was to prove that there are positive effects of a game as well as just being there for entertainment and time passing. Minecraft is one of these games. While it may not seem like there is a particular problem or aim involved within the game, it puts the child into an open world where nearly anything is possible. It lets them figure out what they want to do, solve problems that crop up when that aim is compromised and gives them a sense of accomplishment when they manage to complete it.
They can build, learn, and tear down the world around them to see how it works and, in return, this helps them develop skills they do not even realize they are developing. It is much more effective than sitting them down in front of an ‘educational game’ that bores them to death within ten minutes. Going through the motions to appease other people is not as effortless as playing a game to do something that you really want to do. Keeping a child interested in what is in front of them goes a long way when you are trying to teach them something. You need to keep them stimulated and wanting to learn, rather than forcing it and making it happen when it is clearly not working for either party. Games give children a way to feel like they are having fun and feel like they are choosing to play – without making the aim be solely for the reason of learning. Learning is an added bonus that comes with their enjoyment and attention span.
If your child wants to build a mansion, they have to do it block by block. They need to plan, think about their design and then put those plans into action. To succeed, they have to want to succeed, and have a clear cut goal in front of them. The same is applied to the real world. If the child wants to do something desperately enough, they will find a way to do it, they will search out the materials that they need and they will bring on board ideas and help from other people just to reach that end goal.
A child completing a project can leave with a feeling of pride and accomplishment that they might not otherwise be able to obtain in the classroom. It can help boost their self-esteem, and show them that they have skills they would never have discovered otherwise. This can help them outside of a classroom too when it comes to socializing with other students and gaining more confidence in otherwise uncomfortable situations.
As Minecraft is a game where you do not instantly know what you are doing, it can require research and reading up on techniques, which helps build their skills when it comes to researching for other projects. By giving them a bit of knowledge on how to go about achieving their goals, it also lets them put this research into practice. They can read about something, and then immediately go ahead and try it themselves. They can learn how to take one person’s experience, build on it, and make it their own – putting the world into their own perspective without realizing that they are doing this.
It also gives them the ability to practice applying logical fixes to situations that might pop up in-game that are similar to real life problems – things that don’t fit where they should, something not looking quite right, or an idea not panning out the way that they expected it to.
Minecraft puts everyone on equal ground – the game is suitable for everyone of all ages and is not seen as a ‘boy game’ or a ‘girl game’. Everyone has the exact same chance and opportunity within the game, regardless of who they are or what background they come from and that can really help children understand that just because someone is different, does not mean that they do not share fundamental similarities. The game can help them build friendships and bonds outside of their usual circle and can help them understand how to socialize with others on a more unbiased reasoning.
As a parent, watching your child be excited to play a game that has positive effects to it can also help you encourage them to play something they love. While it might be the last thing most parents consider – encouraging their child to come home and play on a computer game for an hour to unwind can help the child feel like the parents want them to be creative and want them to do well. It gives them an enthusiasm to keep pushing themselves and see what they can create and conquer from their own minds. it shows them that their parents are interested and that they are proud of what is being done and how the child is managing their own world.
There is absolutely no reason that parents can not also join the game and play with them, learn how their child works and what they are capable of from inside the game to get a true understanding of what that particular child’s creative process entails.