Lots of parents experience hesitation when they hear about esports.
They have lots of questions about esports, and what sort of role they would play in their kids’ lives, including:
- Are video games a good way for youth to spend time?
- Will esports help them reach their goals in any way?
- Shouldn’t they be spending time developing skills that will actually help them in the future?
These are all important concerns. We know that parents want what’s best for their kids, so it’s only natural that parents consider these questions with great care.
At STEM Minds, we believe that the world of esports holds many benefits for youth. We believe that video games are not a distraction from learning, but rather, a way to meaningfully engage students in learning.
Here, we’ll discuss some of the key ways in which esports can positively impact youth:
- Building Community
Esports provides an opportunity for students to engage with their peers and develop a sense of community. When schools or community organizations facilitate esports teams, they create a safe space for students to bond over shared interests and work together to achieve their goals. This is particularly important for students who do not show interest in more ‘traditional’ extracurricular offerings, as it transforms schools and communities into more inclusive environments. This sense of inclusion and community is highly motivating for students, and can mean that these students who once felt excluded will actually be excited to go to school, rather than indifferent or unhappy about it.
One concern that many parents share over esports and gaming in general is the toxic culture that is can be associated with it. However, esports activities that are facilitated by schools or community organizations remove these elements by ensuring a safe, inclusive, and respectful place for all to participate and learn in.
- Developing Crucial Skills & Values
How will clicking a bunch of buttons help my kid succeed?
We get where you’re coming from. At first glance, this is what many people see when they look at esports. However, there’s so much more to it than that. Playing games helps youth improve their hand-eye coordination, their attention span, and their visual acuity. It also can boost problem-solving and strategic thinking.
Beyond the cognitive benefits, esports also provides youth with the opportunity to practice and develop many crucial “soft skills”. These include communication, collaboration, creativity, confidence, and leadership abilities.
The esports environment can really boost self-confidence. Not only does it allow youth to participate in something that they enjoy, but it allows them to contribute to a team and feel proud of their individual and collective achievements.
- Exploring STEM Concepts & Careers
Esports provide an opportunity for students to engage in STEM in a way that is meaningful and interesting to them. For example, many students are driven by their interest in games to learn more about computers, coding, processing, game design, and more. This helps students develop interest and confidence when it comes to technology, which is an extremely coveted skill in the job market (and will become even more crucial in the coming years).
Beyond that, esports also helps youth develop their mathematical skills, as they must use data analysis and critical thinking in order to interpret their gameplay statistics. This allows them to grow as players – and as thinkers!
The ability of esports to spark an interest in STEM is crucial as students consider potential educational and career pathways for themselves.
To bring these benefits to students, we run our own STEM Minds EdSports program. The goal of this program is to allow students to channel their passions in a positive, team-based environment as they build the critical skills to prepare them to be the leaders of tomorrow.
If you’re curious about esports and want to try it out, join us on Sunday, February 27 for our next esports tournament, where we’ll be playing Rocket League! No experience is necessary – come join us to meet new friends, and compete for some amazing prizes! You can also watch the live-stream of our tournament to get a taste of what EdSports at STEM Minds is all about!
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