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Exposure to Computer Games can Be 'good' for Kids, Says New Study

Though a slew of studies have highlighted the adverse effects of computer games on kids, a new one has revealed that hours of gaming can actually be good for children.

According to it, computer games that have players competing against each other give children a chance to learn about the opposite sex and learn more about disabled people and other races.

The study by researchers from Brunel University found that gaming enhances kids' imagination.

Through computer games kids meet other youngster of their age from different ethnicities, which they do not come across otherwise.

"Multi-player online games give children a freedom to explore but without their parents worrying about where they are in an age when, in real life, they are not allowed out by themselves because of safety fears," the Scotsman quoted Nic Crowe and Dr Simon Bradford of Brunel's School of Sport and Education, as saying.

"Virtual environments form important new leisure spaces for the many young people who occupy them. In the real world, where streets or town centres have become inaccessible to many young people or are considered unsafe by them or their parents, it is not surprising virtual public space has become increasingly attractive as a leisure setting.," Crowe said.

"The appeal [of online role-playing games] lies in the provision of an environment in which young people can experiment with the cultural institutions and structures of the material world. It is a space in which young people can establish their presence, identity and meaning in ways that might not be accessible or permissible in their everyday," Crowe added.

Dr Bradford said that computer game helps children live their fantasy that they cannot fulfil in real life.

"We met many players taking part in online role-playing, sometimes to extend or to compensate for experiences in the real world. For example, young people who se parents could not afford a summer holiday enjoyed virtual holidays online," Dr Bradford said.

Dr Bradford also said games give way for kids to experiment on their entrepreneurial skills, and that it is necessary to identify the benefits of the Internet and computer games.

"We noted how entrepreneurial young players engaged in business deals online, experiencing positive opportunities often not open to them in the material world. At a time when emerging technologies such as the internet, and computer games continue to be subject to suspicion and concern, it is important we recognise the benefits of what is an increasingly important activity for our young people," Dr Bradford added.


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