by Jeanne Sager
Video games are as much a part of modern kid-dom as peanut butter and jelly. Just about anywhere you go, you're bound to see a kid or three gathered around a little box with a screen jabbering on about mushrooms or racers or some such gibberish (to you anyway). Any guesses what you're seeing there?
Communication. Aka, social skills. Aka, video game play is no longer relegated to that loner kid in his mom's basement. In fact, if you've got a shy kid who needs to be brought out of his shell, you might want to invest in a game console. Behold the wonder of what it can do:
1. Common Ground. What does a shy kid need to start a conversation with other kids? That's right, an icebreaker. Pull out a handheld game console on the playground, and kids tend to come a running to see what they're playing. Presto, change-o, they've all got something to talk about.
2. Online Talk. Some kids just don't open up in person. But put them in front of a keyboard and let them develop a relationship with the written word, and you've opened the door to in-real-life friendships.
3. Takes the Pressure Off. Have a kid who doesn't really share much about his life with you? Try gaming with them ... and talk while you're playing. Studies have shown kids tend to open up more in environments that are pressure-free where they don't necessarily have to look you in the eye.
4. Something to Boast About. Doing well in a video game -- where the costs of failure are pretty low -- can give kids a confidence boost which will carry over to real life. We always want to feel like we're "good" at something, don't we?
5. Multiplayer Game Play. Not only do kids get to talk to their peers without having to be face-to-face with certain games, but multiplayer games also create a camaraderie and a sense of teamwork that often translates over to real life ... especially if they're playing with their real-life peers.
How have video games helped your shy kid open up?