Considering the current global situation, it's a true challenge for many parents to pick between sending their children outside to play or letting them pass their time by playing video games.
Many parents have moved away from the conventional manner of working and shifted to working from home, and managing their kids is now a full-time job. Though the question still stands, is it ok to let your child play video games?
It's reasonable to be concerned about any habit that may appear addictive or isolating, including video gaming. Many parents are worried that their children spend too much time indoors, hooked to a TV screen. Parents are often concerned about video games because of the following issues:
Kids can quickly lose sight of reality when they become intensely absorbed in video games. Kids that spend too much time in virtual and 3D worlds can reach a point where it is difficult to draw the line between reality and fantasy.
Is the subject matter acceptable for their child's age group? As with movies or music, children can be exposed to inappropriate language or conduct if the game they're playing has violence.
Children who spend too much time sitting and playing games are not doing other beneficial activities such as playing sports. They may grow up lazy people who don't enjoy physical activity. This has also been related to antisocial-related issues.
While there are plenty of valid concerns about kids playing video games, there are some surprising benefits.
Today's games are more substantial, with more complex concepts, tactics, and cutting-edge visuals than those used by young ones in the past.
Children are encouraged to use their imaginations in games such as Minecraft: Pocket Edition, a hugely popular video game. According to CNBC, nearly 1 million children and adults now play Minecraft, where they construct their virtual worlds out of building blocks.
CNBC reports, "Parents and educators alike have discovered that this game is more than just a mindless activity that possesses kids. It is an innovative educational tool that inspires, educates, and builds 21st-century skills that help children in school and their future professions—especially in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math), where interest lags."
Nearly 500 12-year-olds were studied by Michigan State University Scholars, who discovered that "the more youngsters played video games, the more creative they were in activities like drawing images and writing tales."
In video games, players are constantly tested and pushed to achieve new goals. They can't be unable to complete the game if they are unable to adjust or raise their skill level. They're constantly trying to get better. This idea teaches children to evaluate circumstances, see patterns, and make well-informed judgments.
In today's multiplayer games, kids worldwide can play video games together; friends can upload recordings of their favorite video game moments to Twitch or YouTube, and many games have community chats where players can communicate with others. According to an article by Geek Wired, "Playing video games is today, even more than in the last two decades, highly social activity for most youngsters since the great majority of children play their video games with a buddy... "Some video games expressly encourage helpful and supportive conduct, such as cooperative play." From a very young age, some games teach vital life skills to children.
What is the expert verdict on gaming and its potential merits? We had a chat with Dr. Clifford Sussman, MD, who enlightened us with his views:
"I actually think that even some of the apps that are most addictive to our kids can have qualities to them that are positive. For example, there are ways for kids to connect with other kids socially, and there are ways not to be quite as isolated. For example, if you're locked down during a pandemic, there's ways to learn how to solve problems and develop strategies and a lot of just the fun video games that kids play. And there are a lot of apps that are designed to teach kids and that provide education in a very interactive way. So there are a lot of positives to screen use. The key is to keep it balanced with the rest of life."— Dr. Clifford Sussman, MD
View the complete interview here
Given that video games are here to stay, the best strategy for parents is to educate themselves on what games their children are playing. At the same time, parents must remain in control to guide and educate their children.
Carrots&Cake gives parents the ability to balance, enhance and manage their kids' screen time by creating a sequence of educational content that kids must complete before they can watch and play what they like. Tap here to view a list of educational apps that'll give your kid a competitive edge