by Jack Elliot, CU Boulder
A recurring debate amongst parents is whether their children’s participation in sports has benefits that will outweigh the risks. Understandably, some parents find it difficult to send their kids off to possibly harm themselves. However, children seem to have far more to gain from playing sports than what they may lose. This article will be dedicated to why myself along with some scholars feel sports are important for the development of children. I hope to also display the immediate benefits that can be seen when these children engage with sports.
In this day and age with the simple accessibility of technology, more and more children are spending less time outdoors. It is key for the development of these children that they participate in sports rather than spending all of their time in false universes depicted to them through video games and other online platforms that are addictive, such as Tik Tok. Violent video games have been found to harm the behavior and development of the youth. These video games make children act more aggressively and tend to be more antisocial than their peers that do not (Greitemeyer & Mügge, 2014). I am not saying that video games should be completely eliminated from the lives of children. Moreover, there are better forms of entertainment for children that will have better immediate and lasting effects on their minds and bodies, such as sports.
From both experience and research, it seems that sports are an essential part of the development of the youth of this country. The first benefit that comes to mind for sports is the traits and skills a child can pick up on through their engagement with sports. Speaking from my own encounters, I feel that my many years of playing sports has helped me become a competent leader. In addition, sports allowed me to gain the traits of determination and realize that practicing something is the most critical aspect of the process. Finally, sports assisted me in adapting to new situations and developing the critical life skill of time management. When balancing school, basketball, and maintaining a social life growing up I was often forced to organize my things far in advance of my events to be sure that I could get everything done. Learning the importance of time management early in my life has been a great benefit of sports. Sports have allowed me to continue expanding on these skills throughout college.
Besides what I have to say, there’s also research that defends the importance of sports in the lives of children. The most obvious benefit that has been found is the increased state of health for children when they partake in sports. Christina Felfe and her colleagues found that the bone development of kids who take part in sports is positively affected by this play (2016). This same article also discusses how “health, education, behavioral, and emotional skills acquired early in life reinforce their development later in life (Felfe, Lechner, & Steinmayr, 2016). The health benefits and life skills gained from playing sports are unmatched, in my opinion, to the possible risks taken when engaging in sports. I truly do believe that sports can help all children in the same way they did for me and influence their lives for many years to come. Hopefully I’ve encouraged some of you to allow your children to play sports in the near future and create some similar memories that I’ve had in my life.
Felfe, C., Lechner, M., & Steinmayr, A. (2016). Sports and child development. PloS one, 11(5), e0151729.
Greitemeyer, T., & Mügge, D. O. (2014). Video games do affect social outcomes: A meta-analytic review of the effects of violent and prosocial video game play. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 40(5), 578-589.