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Does playing lots of video games benefit my kid in any way?

Topics: Learning

Although there are some surprising benefits to playing video games, there are some health risks associated with excessive use. Too much of any good thing -- including carefully chosen, age-appropriate, high-quality games -- can create problems.

But if you're comfortable with the amount of time your kid spends playing games and simply want to know what she's getting out of the experience, just ask her! Sit with your kid and ask what she's doing, why she made certain decisions in the game, how she feels about the action, and how her experiences in the game may or may not relate to her life. Your kid most likely will enjoy sharing the game with you. Doing so puts her in the driver's seat -- she gets to "teach" her parent -- and it could bring you closer together since you'll have a deeper understanding of what she's getting out of the game.

Video games can impart lessons from math to music to social-emotional learning. But the best teaching tools aren't an end unto themselves -- they spark something in your kid that she will carry across time and place.

And, although some kids go through extended fixations on specific games, kids learn best through variety. Here are some ideas to broaden your kid's video game choices:

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