Video Games are Good for You: Educational and Entertaining Technology for Kids

pair of hands holding video game controller

In the digital age, parents constantly worry about their children being exposed to violent or inappropriate material through the internet or video games. But parents shouldn’t fear all of the technology available to their kids. In fact, there are a number of apps and games that can be educational as well as fun. These are some of the best ways to connect your kids to all that the digital world has to offer.

Mobile Apps
Transform your smart phone or tablet into a canvas, a television or your child’s favorite book with a number of amazing apps. The PBS Parents Play & Learn app has dozens of games that allow you to turn everyday activities like grocery shopping or driving in the car into a learning experience. Practice math and literacy skills while making ordinary days exciting. The Crayola DigiTools™ app turns your iPad into an art studio and lets your child create masterpieces using digital paintbrushes and other tools, mess-free.

Video Games
The XBOX 360 isn’t a distraction from schoolwork. With the Kinect sensor, children can enjoy an interactive learning experience while staying active at the same time. Games like Kinect Nat Geo TV let kids explore the world in a uniquely immersive way through programming from Nat Geo WILD. The Kinect Sesame Street TV game brings beloved characters like Big Bird and Elmo to life like never before. Children can interact with Sesame Street through games, music and videos that help them to learn while playing.

Television
There is more TV programming specifically designed for children today than ever. Providers like AT&T U-Verse and DIRECTV offer 24-hour kid’s channels with programming for all ages. PBS Kids Sprout is a network with shows and content made just for preschoolers. It even has interactive online content to help your kids get even more out of the shows they love. It’s also easier than ever to set and customize parental controls on your family’s TV. You can even manage the settings away from home on your mobile devices in some cases, to ensure your kids are enjoying the TV safely.

All of the technology and information available now can be overwhelming and a bit frightening. Don’t let that prevent you from teaching your kids to use technology safely and responsibly. These fun and educational tools can help to make the most out of your child’s screen time. They will enjoy it so much they won’t even realize they’re learning at the same time.

AUTHOR: Adrian Rawlings

BIO: Adrian Rawlings is a technology and parenting blogger.  Look to him for the scoop on education, parenting, tech reviews, how-to’s, and more.

{ 6 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment


seven − = 6

CommentLuv badge

  • Marie October 5, 2013, 3:34 pm

    Interesting, but I’m not sure if I completely agree. I was just reading about a new study that showed that about 85 percent of apps meant for children actually stunt intellectual growth and neural connections. I think technology is definitely beneficial in doses, but I think that the younger generations use it way too much for their own good.
    Marie´s last blog post ..An overview at what constitutes a sex offender and the different levels and types of offenses

    Reply
    • Amy LeForge October 5, 2013, 4:26 pm

      Marie, I will admit I’m not completely sure either. After years and years of worrying about the issue however, I’ve come to the conclusion that we can’t really know whether all of the technology is good or bad yet. It’s just too new.

      And anytime someone says that there’s a study on the subject, I have to wonder how valid and reliable that study is. Seems like more often than not, a study is performed and published only to retract its conclusions (or be refuted by some other study) later. Don’t get me started on all of the fraudulent practices going on…ugh.

      It may well be that we compare today’s youngsters with older groups and find that they’re just as capable. Perhaps they’re even learning more. Or it could be that they’re much worse off. I don’t know that there’s an effective way to measure it while we’re still in the middle of the change.

      And the reality is that the technology is here. We’re all using it. Trying to shield the average child from apps and screens is incredibly difficult.

      In the long run, moderation may be the only way to manage the onslaught. And sending them outside to play. 😉

      Reply
  • Karen Mahon October 6, 2013, 1:06 pm

    Hi Amy-
    There is a TON of terrible stuff out there in the mobile apps world that is supposed to be “educational.” To help parents and teachers sort through it I recently started a service called Balefire Labs (www.balefirelabs.com). We evaluate educational apps according to their instructional quality. I’m an Educational Psychologist and it really steams me what a bunch of app developers get away with calling “educational.”

    I find it hard to believe, too, that 85% of apps STUNT growth (especially since ed apps are VERY rarely even tested for efficacy), but I find it very easy to believe that about 85% of ed apps don’t actually teach kids.

    Thanks for the article!
    Karen

    Reply
    • Amy LeForge October 6, 2013, 2:13 pm

      Hi Karon,

      My degree is in educational psychology too! I haven’t looked at the research but can see where what you’re saying is true. Right now we’re still in the “Wild West” phase of technological development, in my opinion. I’m hopeful that time and experience will cause things to settle down considerably and that educators will be able to communicate effectively with parents about the need to evaluate products labeled educational carefully.

      I find myself hoping that in your analysis you pay attention to learning styles. Visual learners would naturally do better with an app while kinesthetic learners would need a different approach. Let me know when you’re up and running, and I’d be happy to publish a post about your service!

      Amy

      Reply
  • Karen Mahon October 6, 2013, 2:30 pm

    Hi Amy-

    We are up and running now! You can click here to visit: http://www.BalefireLabs.com

    Thanks!
    Karen
    Karen Mahon´s last blog post ..Fishtropolis – Word Fun for Everyone

    Reply
  • Karen Mahon October 6, 2013, 2:31 pm

    P.S., We do not include learning styles. We only include review criteria that have been well-established in the scientific literature. Here is the link to see our criteria: http://www.balefirelabs.com/apps/review-criteria/
    Karen Mahon´s last blog post ..Fishtropolis – Word Fun for Everyone

    Reply