How Does Engagement in Strategic Video Games Affect Decision-Making Skills in Adolescents?

With the advent of technology and the digital age, video games have become an integral part of children’s lives. They are no longer merely a source of entertainment, but a significant part of their social and cognitive development. Video gaming is a popular pastime, and Google Scholar and Crossref have a plethora of articles on the impact of games on children’s development.

The impact of video games on adolescents has become a hot topic in recent years. Studies have found a correlation between gaming and improvements in cognitive skills, particularly decision-making skills. This article explores how engagement in strategic video games influences the development of decision-making skills in adolescents.

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The Role of Video Games in Cognitive Development

Video games are much more than just a source of fun and entertainment; they play an essential role in shaping the cognitive development of children. They have the potential to enhance various cognitive skills, including problem-solving, spatial reasoning, and memory.

For instance, strategy games require players to plan, make decisions, and adapt to changing situations. These are the same skills that are used in executive functions – a set of cognitive processes that are necessary for controlling and managing thoughts and actions.

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Video games that involve strategic planning help improve executive functions like decision-making, problem-solving, and cognitive flexibility. According to a study published in The Journal of Psychol, gaming can impact the brain’s regions that are involved in attention and visuospatial skills, giving rise to an improvement in these areas.

Impact of Strategic Video Games on Decision-Making Skills

Engagement in strategic video games can significantly impact the decision-making skills of adolescents. These games often involve real-time strategy, requiring players to make quick decisions while considering the potential consequences of their actions.

During gaming, players are exposed to a variety of situations that require critical thinking and strategic planning. They need to analyze the situation, evaluate different strategies, and make the best possible decision to win the game. This kind of mental exercise can significantly enhance their decision-making skills.

A study published on Google Scholar unveiled that strategic video games help children to develop a more flexible mindset, enabling them to adapt to different scenarios and make decisions accordingly. These games also promote forward-thinking and predicting potential outcomes, which are integral parts of decision-making.

Video Games and Social Development

Besides impacting cognitive development, video games also play a significant role in the social development of children. Multiplayer and online video games provide a platform for children to interact with others, which can help to enhance their social skills.

Through multiplayer games, children get the chance to collaborate, communicate, and work as a team. They learn to negotiate, cooperate, and handle conflicts, which are valuable life skills. According to an article on Crossref, multiplayer games can foster a sense of community and social belonging among players.

Contrary to the conventional belief that video games promote isolation, modern games are becoming increasingly social. They have the potential to support the development of social skills and enhance social interaction among children.

Age-Appropriate Gaming and Time Management

While the benefits of gaming are evident, it’s essential to consider the age-appropriateness of games and the amount of time spent playing. The impact of video games can vary depending on the age of the player and the type of game.

Children at different developmental stages have different cognitive abilities, and therefore, the games they play should be suitable for their age. For instance, strategic games that require complex decision-making skills may be more suited to older children and adolescents.

On the other hand, spending too much time playing video games can be harmful. Excessive gaming can lead to addiction, sleep deprivation, and neglect of important activities like schoolwork and physical exercise. Therefore, it’s crucial for parents and educators to ensure a healthy balance between gaming and other activities.

The Dark Side of Gaming: Addressing the Concerns

While video games have many benefits, they also come with potential risks and downsides. Excessive gaming can lead to negative outcomes, such as addiction, aggression, and poor academic performance.

Playing violent video games may increase aggressive thoughts and behaviours, according to some studies. Furthermore, gaming addiction is becoming a growing concern, with some players spending excessive amounts of time playing, often at the expense of other activities and responsibilities.

Despite the potential risks associated with gaming, it’s important to remember that not all games are harmful. The key is to ensure that children are playing age-appropriate games in moderation and under adult supervision. Healthy gaming habits can lead to enhanced cognitive and social development, equipping children with valuable skills for the future.

The Influence of Different Video Game Genres on Cognitive Abilities

Different genres of video games influence various cognitive abilities in unique ways. For instance, board games such as chess or checkers that have been digitalized require players to strategize and predict the opponent’s moves. These games enhance problem-solving abilities and contribute largely to decision-making skills.

On the other hand, action video games tend to improve players’ attention and working memory. A study published on Google Scholar revealed that action games enhanced the players’ visual attention and their ability to remember and use information. These games also require players to make split-second decisions, further improving their decision-making skills.

Puzzle games, another popular genre, significantly contribute to the development of problem-solving skills. They require players to think logically and plan strategically to solve complex puzzles. Moreover, these games also develop patience and persistence as players must keep trying different solutions until they succeed.

Simultaneously, there are certain game genres that are designed specifically to improve cognitive abilities. These are often referred to as ‘brain-training’ games and aim to enhance various cognitive skills like memory, attention, and executive functions including decision making.

However, it is also crucial to remember that the influence of different video game genres can vary depending on the individual’s age, cognitive abilities, and mental health conditions. Therefore, it’s essential to choose age-appropriate games that cater to the child’s developmental needs.

The Role of Adult Supervision in Enhancing the Benefits of Video Gaming

The benefits of video gaming can be enhanced significantly under adult supervision. Parents and educators play a crucial role in ensuring that children benefit from video gaming while avoiding potential downsides.

Adults can guide children in choosing age-appropriate games that align with their interests and cognitive abilities. They can also monitor the time spent on gaming and encourage a healthy balance between gaming and other activities. Adult supervision is particularly important to prevent gaming addiction and ensure that gaming does not interfere with schoolwork and physical exercise.

Parents and educators can also leverage the social aspects of gaming to foster social development. They can use multiplayer games as a platform to teach children about cooperation, conflict resolution, and teamwork. Moreover, they can encourage children to interact with their peers during gaming, thereby enhancing their social skills and emotional understanding.

While gaming can enhance various cognitive and social skills, it is not a substitute for traditional learning methods. Therefore, it’s essential for adults to integrate gaming with traditional education and use it as a tool to make learning more engaging and fun.


The impact of video game engagement on adolescents’ decision-making skills is a multi-faceted topic. Research suggests that strategic video games can significantly enhance decision-making skills and other cognitive abilities. They provide a platform for children to practice and develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and strategic planning skills.

Additionally, video games also play a vital role in the social development of children. They provide opportunities for interaction and collaboration, fostering social skills and a sense of community. However, it’s essential to consider the age-appropriateness of games and manage the time spent on gaming to avoid potential drawbacks like gaming addiction and neglect of other activities.

Adult supervision plays a crucial role in maximizing the benefits of gaming and mitigating its potential downsides. Strategic video games, when used wisely, can be a powerful tool to equip children with important life skills and prepare them for the future.

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