Good and Bad Effects of Video Games on Kids
Have you ever wondered if allowing your kids to play games online or video games is the right thing? As parents, you often wonder whether online games that your kids play are doing them harm? The consensus seems to be that they are bad, but can they actually do some good for your kids too? As a parent, I was called upon to ponder over this question lately and so I set about researching on what the potential pros and cons could be. What follows are some of the potential positives and potential negatives that online gaming can have on your kids. This is not meant as any advisory, but merely as a guide offering some points to ponder over. The ultimate decision as a parent should be yours and yours alone.
The Potential Cons of Online/Video Gaming on Kids
Some of the potential cons could be,
- That it promotes increased tolerance to violence, that kids become insensitive and cold towards other kids and adults alike, not being able to differentiate between what's reality and what's not. This can be considered a valid concern since many video games contain graphic/inappropriate content and provide incentives for users to, for example, kill as many characters as possible by rewarding them with points and increased levels. Can kids differentiate between a game and real life like an adult would?
- Another negative effect of online gaming for kids could be that they would end up making them a socially reclusive individual, who just stays indoors and plays games, rather than interact with other kids and play outdoor games, which are essential in developing a healthy body and spirit. They may also not develop much-needed social skills required to help them interact with other children/adults around them growing up.
- Yet another negative consequence of playing video games could be decreased academic performance. Gaming can be very addictive and it could occupy the child's time, leaving very little time for academics and other creative pursuits like learning music and other arts perhaps.
- The negative health effects that playing video games has on kids cannot be ignored either. Staying indoors and playing online games, instead of going out and being physically active can result in kids becoming obese, suffer from eye problems as a result of prolonged hours of staring at the monitor/screen, increase the likelihood of them suffering from repetitive stress disorders, etc.
It seems then that playing online games or video games can only bring misery to your kids, but well nothing is really as black and white.
The Potential Pros of Online/Video Gaming on Kids
Some of the potential pros of online gaming for kids could be,
- Video games can really test your kids' brains. It never hurts to give one's brain a good workout and video games do just that. A lot of the games require good hand-eye coordination and problem solving abilities. These are skills that can't be developed in a purely academic setting wherein exposure to online games and computers is not prevalent, or the exposure is minimal.
- Online gaming can equip your kids with multi-tasking abilities through the games they play. This might be helpful for them as they grow up in a world that requires them to frequently multi-task to get things done.
- Gaming can also equip your kids with analytical and math abilities that one wouldn't normally associate games with. A lot of the games require these skills to successfully complete the game and so it would only help your kid in that sense.
- Playing video/online games can also help make your kid learn the importance of patience - a much needed virtue. In most games, the player does not usually succeed on the first attempt, but by being patient and trying again and again, he/she eventually succeeds. This can help teach your kid that they shouldn't give up the first time, but try again and again - much the same as in real life. It would therefore teach them that they need to be patient in life as well. In that sense, playing such games can help teach them valuable life lessons.
- Games that require teamwork can help teach kids the benefits of cooperating with other individuals to reach a desired goal and not be selfish and self-centered.
- Most importantly, playing games and being exposed to technology can equip your child to adapt to new technologies more easily, and in a technology-driven society such as ours is right now, it can give your kid an advantage over other kids who are not as exposed to technology or as technologically savvy.
So, it seems reasonable to conclude that there are both cons and pros in having kids play online/video games.
The Need for Parental Supervision - Boundaries Need to be Set!!
As a parent, it is your responsibility to monitor what kind of content your kid is viewing, and this applies to the kind of games your kids play too. Any kind of violent or inappropriate content should be strictly disallowed. Content-control software can be deployed on PCs to help prevent your kids from viewing unsuitable content. Also, in the games you buy, screen out games that have inappropriate/violent content and which are not suitable to your kid's age group. Also, it is essential in not letting gaming become an addiction and so certain boundaries need to be set. For example, you can mandate that only a certain time period in a day can be devoted to playing games.
Coming back to the subject, I believe kids can benefit greatly from being allowed exposure to online/video games - provided parents supervise them at all times and monitor the type of content they are being exposed to. I don't believe the right thing to do is to fight technology and crib about times gone by. Technology is not all bad and so why not expose your kids to it and give them an early advantage? That's what I believe in as a parent!
© 2010 Shil1978