Do your kids love video games? They'll love learning how to code too.

An experience shared by almost every family in this day and age is the delicate balancing act of screen time. When school lets out for the summer, the balance we work so hard to establish is almost always thrown into chaos.

One of the main culprits is video games. For some it’s Fortnite, for others it’s Minecraft -- whichever game it is, parents all know the unbelievable power of video games to capture our kids’ attention for inordinate amounts of time.

However, while many of us as parents bring out every tool in our arsenal to drag our kids away from the controllers, there is a good amount of data indicating that maybe we should let the kids play (video games).

The academic and social benefits of video games

While we tend to see video games as a foil to studying, research published in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology showed that children who played video games for at least five hours a week had higher odds of both “high intellectual functioning” and “high overall school competence.”

Many parents also view video games as a solitary, anti-social pursuit. On the contrary, a survey conducted by Pew Research Center indicates not only that video games strengthen existing friendships, but also that more than one-third of teens have made new friends via video games.

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Ok, so maybe video games aren’t as horrible as we thought. But that doesn’t mean we should just let our kids game the summer away. Our hunch is that many kids who love video games are curious about how they’re made...

Learning to code is incredibly impactful

And one of the best ways to leverage our kids affinity for video games into a more structured, enriching setting is through coding. The benefits of learning to code on future career prospects are well-documented (lots of money after graduation), but the impact can be far more immediate as well.

At the core of learning to code is developing an understanding of computational thinking. Introducing kids to computational thinking helps reinforce and expand the logic and problem solving skills they’re taught in school. As children progress into middle school and high school, computational thinking skills have been shown to benefit other academic areas like math -- leading to higher scores on standardized tests.

The summer is a great time to enroll your gamer kids in coding camps or classes. From summer camps like Coding with Kids to free online resources like Khan Academy, there are a plethora of options for parents and kids to choose from.

If you’re worried about paying for coding camp, which can be really expensive, Finli can help. Upload your child’s coding camp expenses to Finli and tell your friends and family about the awesome benefits of your child learning to code -- they’ll want nothing more than to contribute to helping your child become the next Grace Hopper or Steve Jobs.

Lori Shao