fbpx

THE GOOD AND THE BAD EFFECTS OF VIDEO GAMES ON CHILDREN

May 21, 2022

For many years, parents have been concerned about the effects of video games on their children’s development.  For the most part, parents have felt that video games take time away from more worthwhile activities and there is concern about violent video games which promote violent and anti-social behavior in children.  However, many scientists and psychologists believe that video games do have some benefits – one of these is that they can make children smarter.  So, just how good or bad are video games for our children? 

Positive Effects of Video Games:

Despite the concerns of many parents, not all video games are harmful to child development.  Many games provide interactive forms of education for children.  They help teach children about a variety of skills.

  1. Provide children with problem solving skills and enhance creativity

Games such as “Legend of Zelda” provide children the opportunity to think creatively as obstacles arise.  The character in the game searches, navigates, plans and tries different approaches to advance through the game.  Other games such as “Bakugan: Defenders of the Core” also involve planning and opportunities to problem-solve.  “Minecraft” is a popular game that encourages players to utilize “modding” (modification) options to customize their character’s appearance.  They can develop new worlds and levels. Modding gives children opportunities for self-expression.

  1. Teach kids about history and culture

Certain games are focused around real-life historical events such as “Age of Empires”, “Civilization” and “Mythology”. These games can stimulate an interest in geography, world history, ancient culture and international relationships.  Parents can then tie these games to books, museums and media about culture and geography to inspire learning.

  1. Help children make friends

Video games can encourage children to make friends as it is an opportunity for social activity.  Video games create a common interest for your children to make friends with others who share the same interest. Children can create peer circles both locally and online.  Research shows that boys frequently converse about video games with their peers.  Making friends through video games carries over into the teenage years.

  1. Allow kids to share the joy of competition

Competition for recognition among peers is a normal and healthy behavior. Surveys note that one of the popular reasons for playing video games is to compete with other people.  It is a safe form of competitive expression and can give children who are not good at sports an opportunity to excel at something.

  1. Enhance leadership skills in children

When children play games in groups, they take turns leading and following. Teens who play in groups online feel like they gain leadership skills in persuasion, motivation and mediation.  Online games also expose children to other children of different ages and nationalities as they play together in mixed age groups.

  1. Motivate children to teach others

Many children enjoy playing video games with other children because they like to teach others how to play.  They teach each other how to go from one point to another, collect certain items, and combine different elements of a game to succeed.

  1. Improve children’s memory

Video games can help improve a children’s memory even when they no longer play the games. Studies show that video games facilitate cognitive changes in the brain.  Adults who have had experience with video games before adolescence perform better at memory tasks than those who have not had video game experience as a child.

Negative Effects of Video Games:

Video games can have a negative effect on a child’s development.  This is particularly related to aspects of violence, antisocial behaviors and increased aggressive thoughts and feelings.

  1. Encourage violent behavior

Studies show that those who watch simulated violence, like that in video games, can become immune to the violence and more inclined to act violently themselves.  There has been a correlation between violent game use and aggressive behavior. There is insufficient evidence to link violent video games to criminal behavior.  The interactive nature of some of the video games can worsen the effects of the game violence on children by encouraging repetition and rewards for the behaviors.

  1. Promote social isolation and anti-social behavior

Spending too much time playing video games can isolate children. They may spend less time doing other activities such as reading, sports, homework and interaction with family and friends.  However, amongst video gamers, being a loner is not the norm.  Video games can actually augment a child’s social life.

  1. Discourage children to do well in school

There are studies that show that the more time children spend playing video games, the lower their performance is in school.  A study found that video game addicts have lower grades and have more destructive behaviors such as arguing and fighting with parents and teachers.   Some students admit that their video game habits affect their school performance. 

What are parents to do?  Parents need to be involved in monitoring their children’s video game playing habits.  This includes being aware of which video games their children are playing and knowing when to intervene in their children’s gaming.  Be mindful of any kind of video games with violence and its effects on your children.  In addition, parents need to establish boundaries for their children in relation to their game playing to prevent it from becoming a bad habit.  Never allow your children to spend hours and hours playing video games.  Balance and moderation are key.  Be proactive in your children’s gaming activities and be involved in the video game world with your child.  As fun and educational as video games can be, it is important that parents be aware that they can be both beneficial and detrimental to your child’s development.

Author:

IEA Staff

Category: 

Tags:

Share:

© 2022 Institute for Educational Advancement | 569 South Marengo Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101 Phone: (626) 403-8900 Fax: (626) 403-8905