Many parents have grown concerned over the fact that children are playing too much video games to the extent that the habit can be considered an addition. Extensive research has been done on this matter since it was introduced in 1970s to find out the effects of these games on children.
Video Games, which come in a vast array of forms including sports, fantasy, violence, educational, general entertainment, trivia and so many more, have become a subject of both criticism and praise from parents, educators and child psychologists. Below, we take a look at both the positive and negative effects of video games on children and their health.
Positive Effects of Video Games
Video games that are educational in nature have been proven beneficial for children. These games, which provide a combination of entertainment and education, help in developing children’s perceptual, cognitive and motor skills. Studies reveal that educational video games like word games, puzzles, trivia, and problem solving activities stimulate the imagination, creativity, logical thinking, and various mental faculties.
These also improve kids’ hand-to-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and spatial awareness, among others. And because these games are interactive, a child doesn’t just sit there passively absorbing information but he/she partakes in the activity and that provides intellectual stimulation.
Negative Effects of Video Games
While above information suggests that video games have certain advantages, it is also important to study about their negative repercussions to children. Video games that involve violence are linked to aggressive behavior in some children. Playing games that have to do with a lot of killing and shooting has been found to increase emotional anger and aggressive behavior in little ones. It also instills the negative notion that killing or beating another person equates to triumph.
Apart from that, there is also the tendency for children to become addicted to video games. Some would forgo doing household chores, playing outside or accomplishing homework because they would rather sit in front of the computer to play games. This eventually results in inferior academic performance as well as poor studying habits.
In terms of physical health, because children would rather stay inside the house to play for a long time than to go outside to engage in physical activities, video games have also been proven to have negative effects on children’s physical health. Sitting in front of the computer for many hours each day increases risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, obesity, postural disorders, muscular diseases and skeletal problems. In severe cases, video games can also contribute to high blood pressure and increased heart rate.
Knowing the positive side of video games lets you know that it’s not something that you have to ban completely. Proper guidance and correct choices on games can do so much in maximizing the benefits and reducing the drawbacks. Make sure that you choose educational games over violent ones and that you limit your child’s video game playing time so that he/she would be able to do other things that are beneficial to his/her physical and mental health.