Video games 'can make children more morally aware'

New study shows how games can teach children to analyse their moral choices in life and consider the consequences

New research conducted in Canada at the University of Victoria suggests that playing video games can make children more ethically and morally aware.

The five-year study was conducted by education professor Dr. Kathy Sanford, and focused on young people aged 13 to 17, analysing what lessons, if any, games were teaching children.

“What we found was that what they were learning was a whole lot deeper and more profound than we had imagined,” said Dr. Sanford, speaking to The Globe and Mail. “They are doing a lot of problem solving and strategizing. They are learning collaboration and leadership skills.”

“But the most profound thing that got me really thinking about their civic engagement is that they are actively making ethical and moral decisions all the time. They are trying out roles through the characters in the stories. If they act badly, if they choose to be evil, they see the significant results of each of the decisions they make.”

Sanford says that although she recognises that parents are often sceptical about their children playing videogames she believes that “balance is critical”: “People criticize gaming because it is sedentary. But we wouldn’t be upset if those kids were reading a book.”

The research also highlighted that as well as teaching children to recognise the cause and effect reality of their actions, the focus of games on winning actually encouraged cooperation, rather the self-interest.

“In online games, they don’t necessarily choose their teammates, so they have to negotiate whose strengths are used at what time,” says Sanford. “These are not one-off strategies. Some of the participants have talked about the usefulness of their leadership skills in running a guild in a game, and then going into a high-school classroom and navigating that structure.”

The research flies in the face of popular opinion on videogames, which usually provide a handy conduit for pundits trying to create moral panics. Sanford’s opinion on the issue was simplistic, stressing that worried parents should “talk to [their] kids about what they are doing in an interested and genuine way.”

 “Some of the characters are problematic to me, there is a lot of sexism, but we need to talk to kids about [videogames], not just ban them.”

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

    Recruitment Genius: Support and Development Engineer

    £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The leading provider of Employee Managem...

    Recruitment Genius: Creative Designer

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Kent based design consulta...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Gazetteer Consultant

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking to work for an ...

    Day In a Page

    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

    Versace haute couture review

    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
    No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

    No hope and no jobs in Gaza

    So the young risk their lives and run for it
    Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

    Fashion apps

    Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate