Toddler learning while playing mobile games

What happens in children’s brains when they play mobile and video game

Have you ever observed how your children play with their toys? The noises and faces they make? Have you heard the sound effects they make when flying a toy plane or operating on their sibling with utmost seriousness? 

Where does it all come from? And most importantly, why do children like playing so much?

It's been 27 years since the first mobile game was introduced to us, and it feels like we've been playing them our whole lives. But why do we still have disbeliefs, doubts, and restraint towards mobile and video games?

We worry especially when we see our children play with smartphones.

So let's figure out what happens in their brains when kids play mobile and video games.

What happens in a child's brain when playing mobile and video games

While researching this subject, we've found that everyone has their strong opinion on the matter of mobile and video games. While reading most of them, you can feel the fear and uncertainty of the writer. Of course, we are scared of something we don't know and our human nature is to avoid everything that's unknown to us.

Mostly, parents are afraid that their children will turn out to be screen-bound zombies, hooked up on their smartphones or controllers. But reality tells another story.

The researchers have found that playing mobile and video games with educational value has a positive effect on a child's development. They also found that violent games can have a negative effect on your toddlers.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to observe what regions of your childs' brain activate when playing video games? Well, we can't show you that, but we can offer you a few studies that will explain how games affect humans' brains.

A study conducted in 2013, at Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Charité University has found that playing Super Mario 64 can improve your spatial orientation, memory formation, and strategic planning.

The study used two groups of people: the Control group (who continued their life as usual) and the participants of the experiment (who would play Super Mario 64 for 30 minutes a day for two months).

In comparison with the control group, video-game players showed an increase in grey matter in areas associated with memory, strategic planning, and fine motor skills

Other studies also show an increase in fine motor skills of hands, memory, and even eyesight within the video and mobile game players. We can safely recommend you watch this TED Talk of Daphne Bavelier, head of the Brain and Learning lab at Campus Biotech in Geneva, Switzerland.

You will be surprised to learn how gaming affects eyesight and how regular players can see better, are attentive to small details, and use these skills in everyday life.

Some schools are adapting to the fast-growing gaming industry, and include educational video games in their lessons. Some of them upped the game and designed the whole curriculum around games.

Despite the popularity of video and mobile games, there's still little research around them and we seem to have some misguidance or doubts around the subject. In this article, we want to show you what happens in children's brains when they are playing video and mobile games, how the games affect their development, and what you can do to find the sweet spot and enjoy games while also learning something new.

So how can I use mobile games to help educate my toddler?

Emma Brockes wrote a wonderful piece from the perspective of a worried parent who was observing how her children were getting lost in her smartphone.

She describes it as being unable to keep her children away from her phone but also feeling the guilt of being a lazy parent.

What you will find while researching this subject is that parents are afraid that their kids will get addicted.

But everything can be addictive in large quantities. The key to playing a healthy amount of mobile and video games is moderation. As with anything else in life.

Emma also talks about the dangers of banning smartphones and mobile games around the house. Again, too much of anything can be damaging. If you ban your kids from mobile games, the idea of playing one will get this glamorizing effect.

What you can do instead is to introduce your toddler to the routine. Building healthy and constructive habits is crucial for your toddler and a routine can help with that. Set a specific time for mobile and video games in your child's schedule.

And make sure that you're avoiding violent games. Action-packed games do have some benefits on the cognitive development of your child, but they can also cause a lot of damage.

What mobile games can my toddler play?

Opt for more educational and engaging mobile games that teach your toddlers basic skills, alphabet, colors, shapes, numbers, and more.

Childhood development experts design and develop mobile games specifically to enhance your toddlers' knowledge and fine motor skills.

Children learn through everyday activities and especially, from something engaging and fun. Their brains are open to new information and captivating games can be a great teacher.

Make sure to choose an interactive game that helps your kids develop full motor skills, cognitive thinking, and offers a variety of characters.

Smartphones and tablets are almost everyday things today. Even if it feels like we've been Facetiming each other and downloading apps our whole lives, smartphones are fairly new contraptions to us, humans.

So no wonder we're still asking questions around the subject of mobile and video games.

Even though smartphones weren't around back then when we were living in the caves, play and playing were a part of our daily lives. And with time and technology, we're improving our play and skills.

So don't ban smartphones and mobile or video games around your kids. Limit their use, create a routine and let them absorb knowledge while also having fun.