Playing computer games helps develop spatial awareness, dexterity, hand and eye coordination, improve reading speeds and attention span. Because the kids have interaction with the games they are also good for developing problem solving and strategising skills.
Who’d have thought?
But of course a balance of activities is always best.
It’s not just the kids
What might be more surprising is that older people playing computer games also gain from the experience. It keeps them mentally alert and keeps fingers and hands moving.
As more and more of the Baby Boom generation reach retirement age they bring existing familiarity with computers and video gaming with them. About 71% of online gamers have turned 40 and 47% are 50+. Perhaps even more surprising 76% of them are women.
In this video we catch Hilda who is 86 playing games on a 65” screen which helps with her failing eyesight.
Hilda has been playing computer games for 40 years and talks of playing with her aunt of 90+. She says she gets a sense of achievement from playing the games and achieving higher levels and eventually completing them. Hilda may be extreme but she isn’t alone.
Recent research showed that some pensioners – average age 77 – played frequently. 30% played computer games once a week while 17% played every day. Some played slower games and ones they could play alone such as solitaire, crosswords and Sudoku. As a result of game playing, the senior citizens felt they managed everyday activities more successfully and it helped to boost their moods.
Game playing is also known to enhance cognitive abilities. Just like physical exercise keeps our bodies supple so brain exercise in the form of the games helps us to maintain our mental capacities.
Another research study at North Carolina State University in America found that playing computer games kept older people happier too.
Their study which talked to people with an average age of 63 discovered that those who played computer games generally had higher levels of happiness. Those who didn’t indulge had more negative feelings.
Wii games encourage physical activity into the gaming mix. In America many retirement communities and homes use this form of activity. It seems that senior citizens indulging in physical games with the Nintendo Wii improve their physical fitness and strength too. The Wii can improve upper arm strength by almost 15% and general motor function which helps our performance of general tasks by 20%.
One group enjoyed playing so much they submitted their video to ‘Seniors Got Talent’ again in the States showing off their bowling techniques with the Wii. You can watch it below.
So we suggest you tell your grand children to move over and stop hogging the computer and video games or the Wii. Of course there’s always the option of playing with them like this 84 year old grand father who plays Halo Call of Duty: Black Ops