11 Apr Children and Video Games
Let us start with the story of two sisters Sara and Aarti. Sara had a son and Arti a daughter in the same year. Today they are five years old and both love video games, whether it’s on the big screen or a mobile phone. Sara allows her son to play video games whenever he wants, but Aarti finds this habit unhealthy and has rules to control her daughter’s virtual interaction. Aarti believes that her child will grow better by playing outside with other children. On the contrary, Sara thinks that video games are not harming her son but keeping his mind sharp and at par with the latest technological advancements.
Looking at Sara’s example, her son might just grow up to become anti-social. As for Aarti’s daughter, she might have a weaker grasp on technology, which her friends might make fun of sooner or later in life. Whose child is suffering more?
Playing video games, like anything else, has its own advantages and disadvantages. Most parents are unaware of them and they are left with no guidance on the matter. When is it too late to take precautions? What is bad for the child? There are just too many questions.
To throw more light on the matter and answer parents’ questions, here are 10 negative and positive effects of video games on children that you must know.
10 Negative effects of Video Games
- Video games today tend to contain a lot of violence, which unlike adults, is beyond the understanding of a child’s brain. According to research, it was found that there was a 4% increase in aggressive behaviour of children who played games often. So, if you notice your child losing his/her temper while playing a game, you must ensure that they take a break from it. Did you know about the viral Momo Challenge that challenged kids as young as 3 to kill themselves?
- The more games you allow your child to play, the less he/she will concentrate on his/her studies. So, be stringent and ensure that they only play it after all schoolwork is done.
- If your child is always playing games it means that they are interacting less with people. After a certain period, this pattern will make your child an introvert and with little or no friends at all.
- Research by the National Institute for Media and the Family, Minneapolis, states that children who spend more time playing games are prone to increased levels of anxiety and depression later in life. This means a long-lasting psychological impact, which no parent wants for their children.
- With video games available on almost every device like cellphones and tablets, children are getting fewer hours of sleep than they are supposed to. In this case, parents need to prohibit the use of any digital device half an hour before sleep time and ensure that no screens are installed in the bedroom that could keep their child awake at night.
- Addicted video gamers often sit in one place for long stretches. This bars them from getting any physical exercise, which only makes their bodies weaker.
- Today kids are spending more time indoors rather than playing outdoors in the fresh air. This behaviour is leading to health problems like backaches, heart problems, obesity and more at an early age.
- Children addicted to video games often lose interest in carrying out any other fun activities, since they have the game running on the back of their minds. This stops them from making new friends and getting new life experiences.
- A child addicted to video games has more risk of obesity because they lead a sedentary lifestyle owing to the lack of any physical activity.
- Since video games today allow users to interact with others online, it is not a secure virtual world to be in. Your child might think that he/she is making friends, but parents should know better about all the possible dangers lurking online.
10 Positive Effects of Video Games
- Video gaming kids have been found to have higher levels of problem-solving abilities since these are the skills that they use to get through obstacles in a game.
- Children who play video games also develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. When playing games like the ones that involve shooting or driving, a player has to keep track of many factors, which the brain accommodates and utilizes in real life circumstances too.
- Resource management is one of the attributes that a child picks up from games and utilizes in real-life situations. They will know what to save for when and how to utilize it when the time comes.
- Your child will have a flexible thought process which will help him/her to deal with circumstances as they come.
- Playing games can give the brain a good workout, which in turn improves a child’s decision-making abilities. According to research at the University of Rochester, led by Daphne Bavelier, action games can train a person’s brain to make fast decisions.
- Again, the same study at the University of Rochester stated that children develop accuracy in making decisions by playing games like simulation, and strategy games, which is an important trait in today’s fast-paced world.
- Video games can improve visual selective attention; meaning that it can help a person focus on important things more while blocking out distractions. This improves their levels of concentration as their brain is used more efficiently.
- Simulation games can assist in real-world skills since they display a scenario of how your life will be if you make certain choices. This helps a child to make the right life decisions in the long-run.
- Your child will always make reasoned judgements since playing games usually affect the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This part of the brain is responsible for making decisions, cognitive planning, and social behaviour.
- Playing video games has shown to improve multitasking abilities in children. The reason being that playing video games require a lot of focus, which improves the cognitive functions of the brain.
Too much of anything never ends out in good results. The same can be said for video games too. Though this activity has it’s negative side-effects, they can always be controlled and instead be directed towards the well-being of your child.