Playing video games can have a positive effect on the wellbeing and literacy of children and help them to communicate more easily with friends and family, according to new research.
A recent survey of 4,626 young people aged 11 to 16 in the UK carried out by the National Literacy Trust found the games can have a positive impact on the overall health of children.
The collected data suggests that games offer more opportunity for young people to read and encourages creativity through writing.
Four in five (79.4%) young people who play video games said they read materials relating to video games once a month, including in-game communications (39.9%), reviews and blogs (30.5%), books (21.8%) and fan fiction (19.4%)
35.5% of those surveyed also said that playing computer games makes them a better reader, and 62.5% said they write something relating to video games once a month.
As well as this, the data suggests that computer games also boost a child’s mental health and help nurture empathy, with 65% saying that video games help them imagine being someone else and that they “help them either deal with or escape from, stress and difficult emotions”.
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Chief executive of the National Literacy Trust, Jonathan Douglas, said: “This research absolutely suggests that mechanisms that young people themselves already enjoy are the best ways to get them into the wider pattern of reading and writing.
“It’s exciting to uncover the opportunities that video game playing can provide for young people to engage in reading, stimulate creativity through writing, enhance communication with friends and family, and support empathy and wellbeing.”
The National Literacy Trust published a separate summary survey of young people and parents during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Between May and early June 2020, the organisation surveyed of 3,817 young people aged 11 to 18 and a survey of 826 parents.
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The collected results showed that the cultural experience of playing video games supported “positive communication with friends and family”.
More than half of parents said their child had chatted with family and friends through video games during the lockdown, and 60% felt that this communication had been helpful for their child’s mental wellbeing during this time.
Douglas added: “Covid-19 has significantly disrupted young people’s literacy and learning in recent months, and we want to ensure that no stone is left unturned when it comes to identifying new and innovative ways to support children’s literacy when they return to school in September.”