I don’t want you to tell my kids this, but I secretly “like” video games not for myself but for them. Okay, I don’t like the violent video games and I don’t think it should be excessive, but I have seen some benefits.
As the older generation can attest to; the world was a lot safer place when we were kids, we could go outside and run around on our bikes to our hearts content and our parents didn’t have to worry about us. Things are a little touchier now, I worry when my kids come home a couple of minutes late. When they are home, playing a video game I know where they are, and I don’t have to stew so much.
But other than that, what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of video games? Well, first of all I have noticed that sometimes Dads (and even Moms) sit down and play with the little tyke. The experts say YES! yes and yes! The more time families spend together, all the better because it doesn’t happen often enough. When parents involve themselves in their children’s lives it forms a bond, and it gives parents the opportunity to find out exactly which video games are good, and which ones aren’t so good.
The good news:
*87% of parents surveyed play video games with their kids at least occasionally
*More than 80% reported their kids game area is in a common room area of the house
*80% said they take away the video games for disciplinary reasons
*70% feel that video games enhance their child’s problem-solving skills
Do video games help enhance problem solving skills? Certainly, if the right games are chosen. When picked carefully games can be an exercise in cooperation, problem solving, brainstorming and working through frustration. It is part of our 21st century society, its not going away so why not work with it?
Choosing the wrong video game is just a recipe for disaster, as everyone has heard the stories that have linked video games with violence. in this issue, as every other, responsible parenting calls for due diligence in teaming the right video game for the individual child. Video games are known for enhancing hand-eye coordination, as well as visuospatial cognition (think careers in surgery and architecture).
Problem solving skills are learned, because learning means making mistakes, by seeing what works and what doesn’t. There are plenty of opportunities to make harmless mistakes in video games, while solving problems and puzzles.
Of course, life is a balance of work and play, and various activities; after all homework needs done and Fido needs his walk so all good things come in moderate doses, and with rules. Many children would play all day without rules so incorporating rules like no video games on school nights or only after homework work for many families.
Games should be viewed as a privilege not a right, so only after making their beds, cleaning their rooms and doing their homework, then the reward kicks in. Each family needs to find their own time-limit rule, but an hour after home-work and no more than a couple hours on the week-ends works well for many families.
What are some of the questions commonly asked about video gaming?
*Will playing video games make my child fat?
There is no reason to believe that video games, in and of themselves will make children fat. While playing videos your hands are occupied, your brain is stimulated and there are no food advertisements (such as is the case for television).
One of the rules could be to run, exercise and play before playing the games, if it is a concern.
*Is video gaming addiction a concern?
Yes it is real, but the addiction is usually symptomatic of other problems in the family. An alcoholic parent, for instance might not put limits on the amount of time spent playing, which could spur an addiction in the child through circumstance. Addiction in a stable, well-rounded and functional family does is not usually a problem.
*Are video games bad?
Just as television and computers are not *bad* in and of themselves, neither are video games, rather the decisions based around them can be either wise or unwise depending on who is in charge. Great games make for a stimulating , rewarding experience, but overload on inappropriate ones (based on the individual) could be a downer.
The only real way of knowing about the games your children play, is by playing them yourself at least a little bit. Think of the great chance you have for child-parent interaction and bonding. What some parents wouldn’t do to be able and go back and spend that kind of time with their child when they were young. There is so little time before the children are all grown up, so any time spent with them is precious.
What video game ratings mean:
for more information on ratings go to esrb.org
Research the games before purchase so that games are more realistically paired with the right child, and ask yourself:
*Are they mentally engaging
*are they reflex driven
*what is the violence level? Is my child old enough to handle it? Will [this particular] child be inclined to act on the violence?
*What is the aptitude of the child, what are some of his/her future goals, and are there any games which might enhance the childs natural talents?
*What subjects does the child struggle in [in school] and are there any games which could help
*What games would be fun to play as a family, including Mom and Dad?
As you watch the excitement the moment little Johnny exuberantly expresses his emotions at having his hands do what his brain has been trying to tell him to do, you too can feel the surge of that moment of euphoria and enjoy this bond together. Family fun is what great families are made of, and indeed what keeps the heart of the family ticking.