A gamer boy holding a video controller and wearing head phones.
Guide

Is your child a gamer?

Learn more about accessible video games!

A gamer is defined as a person who plays interactive video games or participates in role-playing games. As an educator, I’m always interested in what valuable skills can be developed through the activity – in this case, what are the benefits of gaming?

Benefits of gaming for adults

There are numerous online articles and studies about the skills that are developed through video games and how some employers feel that workers who game can think on their feet and come up with creative solutions in work settings.

These are the top 10 valuable skill set gleaned from video gaming: (10 Video Game Skills That Make You a Better Employee article)

Where can you find accessible video games?

Paths to Technology has received numerous emails asking about accessible video games. Paths to Technology focuses on education and typically does not focus on video game reviews. AppleVis does review various gaming iOS and Mac applications in their blog posts and forum posts. A simple internet search on “accessible games” will provide numerous forums and groups for accessible gaming and various gaming platforms such as Xbox, have resources for accessible gaming. There are also active FaceBook pages for accessible gaming, such as Mobile Accessible Games. Don’t forget about the numerous audio video games that have been designed specifically for blind players.

Resources

There are many resources available for accessible gaming. Here are a few to get you started:

James Roth created a YouTube video about accessibility features in mainstream video games that make gaming blind-friendly.

How Blind People Play Video Games YouTube video:

Benefits of video games for kids

Are there benefits for kids who play video games? Absolutely! Most video games are puzzles that require strategic thinking to solve. Players develop logical thinking to determine the next best move and to take advantage of the tools around them. Players have to be creative to build cities and other environments within the gaming platform. Players also learn financial planning as they have to earn, save and purchase equipment and tools.

Additionally, there are benefits for students with visual impairments, including spatial awareness, mental mapping (that support O&M skills), tech skills, social skills and mathematic skills. And, gaming is just plain fun!

Parental responsibilities for young gamers

As with all things, gaming for young players should be monitored and limited. Players who play video games for long periods of time can become at risk for poor sleep habits, mood changes and inactivity leading to weight gain. If playing violent games, gaming can lead to aggression. It is appropriate for parents exercise parental control – parents should know and approve the games that kids are playing, check the web history on their child’s device, allow gaming only after homework and chores are done and balance the gaming time with other activities.

Resource

By Diane Brauner

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