>> Nov 30, 2015
Donna Stephens made a series of photos about kids that watch TV. She photographed their faces as they stare at the TV screen (Huffington Post, 6th October 2015). The photos are really unsettling. They reflect what the majority of people feel about kids staring into the screens for too long. This goes for TV, but for video games, as well. However, the truth is: it is not all that bad. There are the bad sides and the good sides when it comes to video games, and knowing all about them can help you. You can prevent the bed effects while enhancing the benefits.
Health and Shape
To start with the obvious, kids that sit all day long in front of a computer are in serious risk of becoming obese. Spending hours and hours sitting will influence the health of your child. Also, kids that get too much into the game will tend to skip meals or eat junk food, so that they do not have to stop the game. Those are the bad effects that we are all aware of.
However, there are some good sides, as well. A lot of video games improve the hand – eye coordination. Also, there are video games that simulate different sports activities and they can definitely help your kid move around more. In addition, while some may still believe in the myth that staring at the screen will corrupt vision, there are studies that show that the gamers are better at visualizing and visual focus and that they are less easily distracted by visual interference.
Different Life Skills
The first bad thing that comes to every parent’s mind is that their kid will not socialize enough and that kids should play outside. However, children today do socialize by using video games. They interact online and they learn about different life situations and achieving the goal as a group. This is true for the many multi-player games. Games that are about simulation or management games, teach children about anticipating, strategizing and reasoning. Games allow children to test their hypothesis and get feedback on them. For example, a child playing Poptrica can try different ways of winning the game. In the end, observing Poptrica walk through will give your child the answers they need, free them from frustration while giving them the feedback on their hypothesis about their solution to the problem in the game.
Impact on Behavior
Surely, a lot of studies say that there are increased patterns of aggressive behavior noticed with kids that play aggressive and violent video games. However, there are also studies that show that video games can improve the self-esteem and self-worth with children. Video games can boost their creativity and develop positive attitude toward learning.
Introduction to the Online World
Whether we like it or not, the world has changed and the computer and the Internet skills are increasingly important. As a parent, you will hardly find a better way to introduce your child to the responsible use of technology and the Internet than to start playing online video games with them. In that way, you will be able to monitor your child and to introduce of notions what is and what is not safe or allowed online. The last, but not the least, there are studies showing that playing online games actually boosts the social life.
The key to having your child benefit from the gameplay is choosing the age-appropriate content and gradually introducing them to the online world and the world of gameplay. Accepting that video games are not what is wrong with the world today and that they are here to stay can help you in your intention to make them work for you and your child.