Surprise! Esports and Gaming are Actually Good for You (And Your Kids)

Kids

The term “esports” may sound unfamiliar, but you’re going to hear a lot about it in the coming years.

Esports, short for electronic sports, is the emerging field of competitive video gaming. Players compete individually or on teams in popular video games that test their coordination, reflexes, strategy and decision-making.

In fact, esports have become so popular that the global market is projected to surpass $1.5 billion by 2023. Odds are, in the coming years, you (or your kids) will be trying to decide between watching your favorite football or esports team on TV.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has curtailed in-person activities, many parents are finding their children spending significant amounts of time on screens and feeling concern about their overload of screen time. Rightfully so, movement and physical activity are essential for kids to develop, and it’s important that kids get 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

But as organizations like the YMCA of Austin launch new recreational esports leagues to keep kids engaged, parents should be aware that there are a variety of notable benefits that come from esports.

Studies have shown that esports provides many of the same benefits of traditional sports such as teamwork, communication, strategy, and sportsmanship. Plus, esports can develop additional benefits such as:

  • Improved hand-eye coordination
  • Improved attention & visual acuity
  • Improved basic visual processing and executive function

Recent research is also uncovering some surprising benefits from esports. Players who participate in esports programs are found to have a higher interest in STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math) subjects and have strong average GPAs.

Playing esports is a cooperative activity. Students form teams and must create strategies to accomplish their objective. Just like a baseball or soccer team, each player on the esports team has a role to play. Not surprisingly, research also shows that children that play videos games excel in problem-solving and strategy skill development.

Finally, while the stereotype of a gamer is a kid sitting at home alone. The reality is that, with today’s connected platforms, esports helps kids form a community of peers and aids in developing valuable social skills.

To top it off, esports are fun! And in times like these, kids need as many opportunities to enjoy themselves as we can provide.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sean Doles
All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and/or contributors and not of their employer. Any questions or concerns regarding the content found here may be sent to info@austinymca.org

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