DARIEN, Conn. (CBS) With most sports canceled and hangouts at the mall mostly off-limits, many American kids are at home playing video games.
“I’ve been playing more,” said Dylan Barnett, a student in San Diego.
Dylan and sister Juliana say the games are usually team-oriented, so they’re strategizing and socializing with friends.
“My parents don’t give me limited screen time,” said Mira Joseph, a fifth-grader.
Mira has been Zooming her Girl Scout troop meetings during the pandemic and also playing video games with her fellow scouts.
“I don’t like the games where you just shoot. I like the games where you build up your character and get stronger,” she said.
A study published earlier this year in the American Journal of Sociology found that despite the growing time spent on screens, kids these days are just as socially adept as those who entered kindergarten in 1998, before the dawn of the iPad and iPhone.
That news hardly surprised Susanna Pollack. She’s the president of Games for Change, a nonprofit that supports developers trying to teach real-world lessons through video games.
“So what we’re seeing is an increase in the conversation about how games provide a positive outcome and positive tools for society,” Pollack said.
GamesForChange.org has links to nearly 200 games available online. Many are free and all are educational, from learning about the environment to refugees to even pandemics.
The website has games available for just about every console or screen you may own, even several, in virtual reality.
The Games for Change annual festival will be entirely virtual this summer. And for the first time, it’s free to anyone who wants to participate.