A Parent’s Guide to Video Games

It is no doubt that the influence of electronic games will continue to grow and with that parents need to understand any potential pitfalls and the role they should play.

WORDS DR NICOLA DAVIES

 

Although playing video games has certain advantages, they can also have some pitfalls. Sometimes parents use video games as a ‘babysitter’ in order to have some time to themselves or finish off the chores. This decreases the bonding and communication time the child has with their parents. Video games cannot replace human contact.

Engrossed in playing video games, some children refuse to go out and play which may curb their exercise time, and in extreme cases, lead to obesity. Children could also prioritise gaming over their homework and household responsibilities, which can lead to a reduction in their grades.

Children who engage in violent games may act out inappropriately at home or school. These video games can be addictive and may also lead to health issues if the child engages in them for extended periods – eyesight problems, numbness, or pain in the thumb, among other potential problems.

 

What can You as a Parent do?

  • Engage. Know what your children are playing. Learn to play video games with them.
  • Read up. Read the Entertainment Software Board guidelines and match them with the content label of games to decide whether your child is old enough to play a particular game. You can also read game reviews to decide whether it is an appropriate game for your child.
  • Light it up. Make sure your child is playing in a well-lit room. Darkened rooms can trigger epilepsy in children.
  • Balance. Set a time limit for your child to play video games and make sure they adhere to it.
  • Network. Talk to other parents to know which games might be better for your child.
  • Take breaks. Regular breaks between gaming are important. Ensure your child is taking at least five to ten minutes of break after every 45 minutes of gaming.
  • Know. Be an informed and cautious buyer. Question claims made by gaming companies. If you find objectionable content in a game, make this known.
  • Variety. Ensure your child gets a well-rounded upbringing by engaging them in outside activities like sports and swimming.
  • Research. Find games that will interest your child while at the same time strengthening their strategy- and decision-making abilities.
  • Communicate. When you refuse to buy a game for your child, let them know the reason behind your decision.
  • Groups. Encourage your child to play in groups.

 

Video games have both benefits and pitfalls. On the one hand, they introduce problem-solving, logic, and motor skills to your child, while on the other hand, they can be addictive and your child may spend hours on end playing them. It is crucial to limit the time your child engages in gaming. It is recommended that you play with your children and keep an eye on what games they are playing. This also provides them with a safe space to discuss other things. Video games are not the evil they are sometimes portrayed to be. The trick is to maintain a balance and leverage the positives that accompany gaming while keeping the adverse effects to a minimum.

 

Thanks for sharing!