Just how much time kids spend playing video games has long been a source of controversy. Some experts think gaming can have a negative impact on children’s behaviour, but new research has found that might not always be the case.

Researchers at the Arizona State University’s Center for Games and Impact claim well-crafted video games can actually foster critical skills necessary for navigating the world. And one way to enhance the benefits is for parents to get involved.

“Maybe sit down and play with them like you play a board game or play catch outside,” explained Consumer Reports electronics editor Bree Fowler.

You can ask questions about why a character is going somewhere, or why it’s important to pick up certain coins.

“Kids love to explain, they love to teach and they love to feel like you respect them as an intelligent person,” added Fowler.

Many games are interactive and can also help enhance social skills or provide bonding opportunities for parents and kids.

Of course, even if you are playing with your kids, you still want to monitor the amount of screen time they’re getting and make sure the content is age appropriate.

New Canadian guidelines were just released, which state kids two years old and under shouldn’t be spending any sedentary time with screens and two to four-year-olds should have no more than one hour of screen time per day. School aged children should have no more than two hours of screen time per day.