Development in the Information Age: The Effect of Video Games
Video games are one of the many tools industrialized societies use to teach children the technological and intellectual skills they will need as adults. Several studies suggest that playing video games fosters good spatial cognition skills, and that video-game playing has a particularly marked effect on mental rotation ability. This is the dimension on which boys and girls differ the most. It is reported that success on spatial cognition tasks, especially mental rotation problems, is related to math achievement. This is a highly valued set of skills in the industrialized world.
If this is the only issue at stake in children's development of spatial cognition skills, then it is reported that teachers and parents should be encouraged by the large numbers of children who regularly play video games. Further it is suggested that to decrease the sex difference in spatial cognition abilities, educators and parents should be trying to get more girls interested in playing video games.
However, on the other side, there is a growing body of literature raising concerns about the violent content of some video games. It is reported in this literature that violent video games has detrimental effects on children's behavior and development in so many ways. Therefore, is the gain in spatial cognition skills worth the cost of exposing children to the very realistic portrayals of violence found in many video games?