Too much of anything is good for nothing. Most of us are aware of this old saying. This can aptly apply to the addictive video games that children, teens and young adults play. Video games have made an already daunting task of parenting children much more difficult for parents. Nowadays, thanks to the ever improving technology, video games are available at the click of a button. You don’t need a separate gaming console. Even a smartphone or a tablet computer is enough play games. And downloading these games from those App Stores can really be a child’s play.
Right now, scientific research can be said to be in a dilemma over whether or not video games are good or bad for kids. While some researchers feel that video games are good, others say that video games are bad. Today, a billion dollar industry, the video game industry must be looked without any prejudice or favor.
Why do kids like to play video games?
If we look closely and examine, why do kids like video games in the first place? When we look at the older generation (the one which hadn’t played video games during childhood) we can say that, even they played video games as children, in one sense. During their time, comics, particularly action comics like Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Flash or Wonder Woman were famous. The kids from this generation extensively read these comics and imagining themselves to be their favorite comic heroes; they bashed up all those bad guys in their imagination. This is one kind of video game that they played. But now, kids can actually do that in reality, of course its virtual reality. So, we can say that kids love to be superheroes.
Points against video games
For some years now, many parents have been complaining that video games are making their kids very lazy. One of the first and foremost problems of video game addiction is lack of physical activity and substantial weight gain.
Also, lack of physical activity can hamper their social skills as well. When kids start playing their video games for few hours after school, their social and peer-bonding skills with neighbors or friends would be minimal. This can turn into a problem in the long run, which parents need to take care of.
While some other parents feel that the violence quotient in their kids’ is increasing due to some action games that they play. The violence quotient in video games has improved over the years, thanks to the development of virtual reality. In the past few years, even researchers have also focused on children and teenagers who play video games too often to note changes in their personality.
Some researchers have shown that violent video games can turn children and young adults more aggressive and violent. The feelings and thoughts of these kids transformed to be aggressive, thus made them less pro-social in their approach towards society. This can be a very bad trend that is being encouraged in the gaming industry. Over the years, the demand for action games has increased exponentially.
Points in favor of video games
On other hand, if games are designed not just for fighting or shooting, they can improve kids’ ability in many ways, especially mental development. Puzzle games or thinking games have shown to increase brain development and knowledge in a child.
Some physical video games like DDR or Dance Dance Revolution increased body flexibility, increased motor functions, increased hand to eye coordination, etc.
Also, these days, there has been a craze for multi-player games. These multi-player games provide a platform for social interaction as multi-player strategy is very important in these games.
So, we can conclude from the above discussion that games provide better results when played in moderation. Excessive gaming, particularly action games can have bad effect on a child’s psychology. On the other hand, if puzzle games and those action with games with moderate or less violence can be good to your children in improving their hand to eye coordination, memory and problem solving skills.
Some restrictions against video games
Here are some restrictions that parents can impose on their kids about video games.
- Parents are advised to buy games only after looking at the ratings or the age restriction printed on the game disk. You can also check the details of the game on the internet as well. Most of the games that are targeted towards teens and preteens are actually meant for adults.
- You can encourage your kids to play puzzle games and strategy games which require thinking. This improves their problem solving ability. There are also math games, which make learning math, both easy and fun.
- Apart from these, parent restriction in video games is always much better. Limit your child’s game playing time to few hours a week. There by you can reduce the ill effects associated with playing violent games.