The article below shares a very positive view of video gaming and learning, and to be true there are many positives. Our daughter just got Harvest Moon for her birthday, an RPG or role playing game whereby you live a virtual life, set up a farm, harvest your crops, sell your goods, find someone to marry, have children, and basically make for yourself a 'good life'. After a little bit of time, we looked in on her - and in the nick of time, we stepped in to prevent her from marrying a poor prospect("Everyone else seemed married, I thought well I just have to get married to someone anyway...")! We encouraged her to wait for the 'right one', told her to spend a little more time 'looking', then redirected her to invest more in resources for the farm and planting more crops before the season was over. She had spent way too much money on dating, and her fields were empty!
Many games do have excellent learning opportunities that encourage decision making, taking risks, flexibility, planning ahead and delay gratification, and a little human psychology to boot. Some limitation in computer use should be had for young children, but there certainly can be excellent benefits if parents carefully research programs and try the programs out themselves first.
In addition, there are wonderful for open source (free) video programming programs that even young children can begin to learn. We are just in the process of joining a school-sponsored homeschool resource center, and found that RPG Maker classes begin in the 3rd grade! (we wish Cybercamps and Digipen's summer program would take the hint).
Video game programming is a great hobby and outlet for children who are tech-happy, and creative. There is a lot to learn about what makes a good game, what makes interesting characters and stories, how problems can be troubleshooted, and the different options that occur in computer programming. Two free resources for do-it-yourself video game programming are Gamemaker (Gamemaker) and RPG Maker (RPG Maker). Games made from the programs can be downloaded from different sites, so children can learn from others how particular effects were achieved, or the over-all game was programmed.
Positive View of Video Games