Guest Column: What video games really do for teens

5 mins read

Author, Rhiannon Paille has been good enough to send us in a column on her thoughts about the literary benefits a game can bring children, and tips for parents to get young gamers into reading as well. Thanks, Rhiannon! If you’re involved in the game industry and have some thoughts you’d like to share please email us at to have your say!

Nearly 99 per cent of teens play video games according to a survey done by Pew Internet. That’s staggering considering the stigma that video games promote violence, illiteracy and anti social behavior. What parents are missing in the equation are the skills teens build while playing video games. Skills like problem solving, creativity, character building, storytelling, and probability.

Video Games are a gateway to reading, writing and drawing.

Gamers are more likely to read books that are part of a series, comic books, or graphic novels. They want a character they can relate with and a story paradigm that allows that character to experience infinite situations.

Video gamers read books that are character driven.

Gamers like to interact with their world. They are more likely to transition from a video game to an RPG/LARP. Many RPG’s and LARP’s have guidebooks which allow the gamer to develop the story with a group of friends. That’s hardly anti social behavior.

Gamers prefer to create the story as they go along, and they like the interaction and input of other gamers.

Gamers are artistic people. They appreciate the graphics, world building, character attributes, accessories, demons, aliens and other creatures that exist in their favorite games. The sheer creative thought that goes into games like Skyrim and World of Warcraft inspire gamers to create their own worlds and characters.

Gamers are creative people that like to create their own characters and landscapes through art.

All gamers are looking for an escape when they play a video game. The only difference between a reader experiencing a book and a gamer experiencing a game is that the gamer is more hands on with their experience, being able to manipulate and become part of the game.

Tips to get your teenage gamer reading, writing and drawing:

– Encourage books that are based on their favorite video games. Most of these books can’t be found in the teen section of the bookstore. Most gamers play games that have book companions in adult science fiction and fantasy.

– Encourage them to write fan fiction based on their favorite video game. Can’t find a book based on Skyrim or World of Warcraft? Encourage them to write their own story based on the characters and experiences in their version of the game.

– Encourage them to create their character on paper. Comic Books and Graphic Novels are the leading reading materials among youth and young adults. Their success comes from pictures that tell a story.

– Encourage them to read a book with a likeable character. Novel series like Star Wars, Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, Torchwood, The Dark Tower, Warhammer 40,000, and Doctor Who all offer mutable characters that travel through a variety of situations.

The question isn’t whether or not your teen should be playing video games. It’s what they’re going to take from the experience. As a parent or teacher you have the tools necessary to turn a video gaming experience into a learning experience.


About Rhiannon Paille

Rhiannon Paille is an active advocate for youth literacy and an avid reader of young adult novels. Her first book, the non-fiction Integrated Intuition: A Comprehensive Guide to Psychic Development, remains a popular seller on Paille is the founder of the Canadian Metaphysical Foundation. She’s married and the mother of two children.

This is the bio under which all legacy articles are published (as in the 12,000-odd, before we moved to the new Website and platform). This is not a member of the DDNet Team. Please see the article's text for byline attribution.

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