Are Video Games good for kids?

by pew

are video games good for kids?

What influence do video games really have on our children? Do they have any beneficial effects or do they just take away the child’s own ability to be creative and fun finding? Do they expose our children to mindless violence and mindless play? These and many other questions should be considered by every parent.

Educational video games for kids are of course beneficial, it’s the violent and monotonous ones that we should be cautious of.

There are constant questions these days about why there is so much conflict in the world, why children behave so badly and why new generations seem to be more violent than previous ones. The answer lies in what we have allowed our children to be exposed to and how we have parented them.

Obviously video games cannot be singled out but they have an influence, a much greater influence than you imagine. Aside from the content factor of the video games there is the anti-social factor of playing them. Playing video games is hardly a social experience and they take away important time that should be spent with the parents, playing with other children or engaging in creative endeavors.

It is bad enough that the television holds a central place in most households these days but add to that the child having their own DVD player, computer and video game machine and you’re left with no quality time with your child. Who is raising the child? How can you expect to exert a positive influence on your child in such an environment?

In a society where parents already have so little time it is easy to let your child go and play with these things and be out of the way. It’s not something most parents do intentionally but it is something that parents should be conscious of.

The other option of course takes time; which involves going out to play with your child and experience your environment, and to partake in activities inside and outside of the home, together. It takes time and commitment but that is what parenting is all about, parenting starts when your baby is born and continues for a LONG time.

In a survey from Microsoft reported this week in the Independent newspaper, they stated that this however was not the case, citing the following statistics from their survey;

  • 61% of parents considered video games a great social experience and
  • 52% believe they bring families closer together

This is of course flies in the face of what I have said above but you have to remember that Microsoft do manufacture the Xbox360.

However, if those statistics are true then it is even more concerning. Those parents seriously believe that playing video games brings their family closer together and is beneficial to their child!

There was another statistic in the report that gave an even more concerning outlook and that was;

  • 64% allowed their kids to play games which have a higher age rating than they should be allowed

It is seriously irresponsible to allow kids to play games which are higher age rated than them. The ratings themselves are already questionable without letting even younger children be exposed to these games.

The choice of entertainment out of a box these days is enormous but it is not a positive one. You not only expose your child to potentially aggressive and negative influences, you deprive them of time with you, the parent. You should be exerting positive influences on your child instead.

Video games will not go away. However, by being aware of their influence and how they affect your household dynamic you can limit the damage they do.

In the process, by being conscious, you also create an environment that will encourage growth and discipline. Next time your child wants to go and play a video game think about how much time you’ve spent with them doing productive play. How much time you’ve spent with them bonding, listening to them and being an integral part of their life. Make sure they’ve had quality time with you before resorting to a video game.

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