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Games are good for kids, says Big Bird

Or rather, Sesame Street researchers.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

The creators of Sesame Street have published a new report saying games can be just as good for kids as traditional classroom activities, educational TV and fags. Maybe not the last one.

The report was produced by researchers at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, which is run by the Sesame Workshop. It says teachers, governmental organisations and healthcare professionals should look at how games can have a positive impact on children.

"Despite their reputation as promoters of violence and mayhem, digital games have in fact been shown to help children gain content and vital foundational and 21st-century skills," the report states.

"Well-designed digital games show significant potential to promote children's growth and healthy development. They can foster skills and knowledge that help children with academic learning, as well as habits which contribute to better health."

According to the report games can improve vocabulary, enhance literacy and maths skills, teach problem-solving and so on.

"Digital games offer a promising and untapped opportunity to leverage children's enthusiasm and to help transform learning in America... Games are here to stay and offer the country a rare opportunity to leverage children’s already established enthusiasm in order to reform education and promote healthy development."

There's no mention of the positive effects the likes of Gears of War and Grand Theft Auto might have on eight year-olds; instead the report refers to games like Sesame Street's Color Me Hungry, which teaches children about the importance of eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables. Cookie Monster informs players that "cookies are a sometimes food", just like chips, fizzy drinks and heroin. Maybe not the last one.

"We know enough about digital games and how they work to recognise their promise," the report concludes. "Now we need to invest time and resources to turn this promise into a real "game changer" for America's children." YES WE CAN.

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