Playing video games can reduce stress, relieve anxiety, increase vision, enhance multi-task capacity and develop decision-making skills in addition to being enjoyable. Online gaming is also associated with obesity, increased depression, poor grades, addictive behavior and increased aggressive or violent behavior.
Faced with apparently conflicting research findings, parents need to take time to be informed about the games their kids are playing, the safety settings and features of the devices on which they are playing games, and then apply common sense to the online gaming opportunities of their kids. Recognize that for another child what works may not be the right mix.
What is included in the term video game?
The term “video game” encompasses everything from playing a simple Solitaire game on your own to massively multiplayer online games (MMOG’s) with entire virtual universes where users interact with other players and where transactions – usually points or game improvements, but sometimes real money – are involved and also involved in hooda games.
On computers and laptops, handheld devices, game consoles, and with increasing frequency, on phones and tablets, video games are played. Many games are purchased and installed on computers, some are downloaded from the internet, and some are played online exclusively.
Video games are common at all ages: older women dominate the use of simple single player games; young men are the heaviest “war games” users. Massive multiplayer games draw 8-80 users. Many games are educational; others are horribly violent, and explicit pornography may be included. Yet many games are set up to be played in the same room with friends or family.
Helpful tips for healthy gaming
Consider your child’s age and maturity and the games they want to play. Do the games appear to be a good fit for your child when reviewing the ESRB ratings and content descriptors? If the home has older gamers, kids may often want to play the games they see being played instead of the ones that fit their age group.
If it’s not acceptable to play the game played by older children, they probably shouldn’t watch as their siblings play.
Look at your child’s gaming device. Are your child’s security settings in place? Do they match his level of maturity and help you set appropriate boundaries with regards to the types of games allowed, who they are allowed to interact with, and the amount of time / times of day they can play? If not, make sure that these security settings are installed before your child begins playing.