The Good Things About Video Games
- provide a fun and social form of entertainment
- encourage teamwork and cooperation when played with others
- make kids feel comfortable with technology—particularly important for girls, who don't use technology as much as boys
- increase children's self-confidence and self-esteem as they master games
- provide points of common interest and opportunities for socialization
- develop skills in reading, math, technology and problem-solving
- encourage participation in related offline activities, such as reading or sports
- encourage civic participation
- improve hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills
Video games can also teach important skills or address serious issues, organizations such as Games For Change promote the use of games for education and social action, and often involve young people in the creation of games they can use to express themselves on important issues and current events. Some medical professionals, such as Doctor Kourosh Dini, also feel that "age appropriate multi-player video games can allow children to learn how other people think - a key aspect of empathy. Games can also help a child become more comfortable with new and ever progressing technology." 
Recent studies have shown that video games can have a positive or negative effect on how players behave, depending on the content. Pro-social games can increase empathy, co-operation, helping and emotional awareness, while violent games can diminish these traits. 
Check out the Choosing Good Video Games tip sheet for help in finding great games for kids.
 Dini, Kourosh, M.D.. Video Game Play and Addiction: A Guide for Parents. iUniverse, 2008.
 Jacobs, Tom. "Video Games Can Encourage Positive Behavior, Too." Miller-McCune, June 7 2009.