So your kid is interested in playing video games, and you’re a bit apprehensive about it. If you’ve done some research or talked with parents and educators about gaming you know that the negative outcomes heavily outweigh the positives. There’s increasing content about gaming and its dangerous impact on a child’s emotional development. The reality, however, is that while gaming can have a negative impact on a child’s emotional development, this is only true in cases where parents aren’t well informed and/or without a proper plan in place.
There is an increasing amount of research showing that gaming can actually be beneficial for your children. Video games have been proven to help improve a child’s coordination, problem-solving skills, memory, concentration, and social skills. They are also a great source of bonding for families who play together. So, it wouldn’t be wise to cut it out altogether (especially when they’re everywhere), but instead, learn how to make gaming fun and safe for your children. Below is some advice on how to master this:
Know the Signs of Addiction
Gaming addictions are very real and should not be overlooked. A parent can best make gaming safe and fun for their children by knowing the signs of addiction. This allows you to stop things before they get out of hand and provides you with insight on how to get the help from adolescent treatment in California (or near where you live) should things spiral out of control.
Signs of gaming addiction in children can vary but will include things like an emotional attachment to games, neglecting other people and interests to play the game, moodiness or irritability when they cannot play the game, a decline in their studies, and poor hygiene.
Talk to Your Children
Before allowing your kids to begin gaming it is important to have a conversation with them. Find out what games they’re interested in playing, discuss topics like fiction and reality, talking to strangers online, and spending too many hours on the game.
Research the Games
From your conversation with your children, you should have a better idea of the types of games they’re interested in playing. Do some research on the games to ensure they are age-appropriate and safe. It’s also cool to note that the more knowledgeable you are in the world of gaming the more cool points you get from your kids.
Create Gaming Hours
Too much screen time whether it be television, computers, mobile phones, tablets, or gaming devices can have a negative impact on your child’s health. So, it is advised that you keep it to a minimum. Allowing them to play video games for an hour or less during the week and maybe 2 hours on the weekend may be ideal. You should also make sure to schedule gaming time after their priorities are taken care of like schoolwork, household chores, and personal hygiene tasks.
Set Parental Controls
If your child enjoys mobile or computer gaming it is important to set parental controls to keep them safe. Using software that prevents children from playing games that are too advanced or receiving pop-up advertisements that are inappropriate (or otherwise viruses and malware) can keep them from some of the many dangers with online gaming. If your children are playing video games through a console, however, the best way to keep them safe is to monitor their online interactions and to only purchase games with ratings that are age-appropriate.
Video games can actually be a very cool resource for helping families to come together. There is a lot of fun interactive games out there for families. Making time in your schedule to play the games with your children allows you to see the types of games they’re playing, analyze their behavior, monitor their online interactions, and connect with them doing something they love. Even if you’re not the best gamer, your kid will get a kick out of teaching you something (and beating you a few times).
Kids and video games get a bad wrap. Though it is true that too much exposure can lead to isolation, a warped sense of reality, behavioral issues, and physical problems, this is only when gaming is not properly managed. Parents can prevent their children from becoming addicted to games or going down the wrong path by using tips such as those provided above to make gaming fun, educational, and safe experience for your kids.