Bad Effects of Video Games
•Most of the bad effects of video games are blamed on the violence they contain. Children who play more violent video games are more likely to have increased aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and decreased prosocial helping, according to a scientific study (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). The effect of video game violence in kids is worsened by the games’ interactive nature. In many games, kids are rewarded for being more violent. The act of violence is done repeatedly. The child is in control of the violence and experiences the violence in his own eyes (killings, kicking, stabbing and shooting). This active participation, repetition and reward are effective tools for learning behavior. Indeed, many studies seem to indicate that violent video games may be related to aggressive behavior (such as Anderson & Dill, 2000; Gentile, Lynch & Walsh, 2004). However, the evidence is not consistent and this issue is far from settled.
•Too much video game playing makes your kid socially isolated. Also, he may spend less time in other activities such as doing homework, reading, sports, and interacting with the family and friends.
•Video games do not exercise your kid’s imaginative thinking. Using imagination may be important in developing creativity.
•Some video games teach kids the wrong values. Violent behavior, vengeance and aggression are rewarded. Negotiating and other nonviolent solutions are often not options. Women are often portrayed as weaker characters that are helpless or sexually provocative.
•Games can confuse reality and fantasy.
•Academic achievement may be negatively related to over-all time spent playing video games. Studies have shown that the more time a kid spends playing video games, the poorer is his performance in school. (Anderson & Dill, 2000; Gentile, Lynch & Walsh, 2004)
•Video games may also have bad effects on some children’s health, including obesity, video-induced seizures. and postural, muscular and skeletal disorders, such as tendonitis, nerve compression, carpal tunnel syndrome.
•When playing online, your kid can pick up bad language and behavior from other people, and may make your kid vulnerable to online dangers.
•A study by the Minneapolis-based National Institute for Media and the Family suggests that video games can be addictive for kids, and that the kids’ addiction to video games increases their depression and anxiety levels. Addicted kids also exhibit social phobias. Not surprisingly, kids addicted to video games see their school performance suffer.
Recommendation for Video Games
•Monitor video game play the same way you need to monitor television and other media.
•Be a loving, attentive parent who disciplines your child well. An aggressive child is more a product of dysfunctional parenting than anything else, including violent games and TV. According to Los Angeles-based psychotherapist Robert Butterworth, PhD, dysfunctional parenting, children with little guilt, and accessibility to firearms with little parental supervision can create violent children. “Most children who commit violent crime show an early combination of personality and family factors that include having trouble getting along with playmates in preschool,” Butterworth says. “By second or third grade they’re doing poorly in school, and have few friends. By the age of 10 they’re picking fights and getting labeled by their peers as social outcasts.” What’s more “they typically come from families where parents are poor at disciplining because they are indifferent, neglectful, too coercive or they use harsh physical punishment with little love.”
•Although playing video games can be a learning experience, give your kid a variety of entertaining things to learn from, so your kid will not be addicted to just one thing. Be sure to make him read books, play sports, interact with other kids, and watch good TV. Everything should be taken in moderation. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children not spend more than one to two hours per day in front of all electronic screens, including TV, DVDs, videos, video games (handheld, console, or computer), and computers (for non-academic use). This means seven to fourteen hours per week total.
•Limit the amount of time they could play and also used the video game ratings to limit the content of the games have children who do better in school and also get into fewer fights.
•Monitor the effect of video games on your child. Observe his behavior. If it appears that he is becoming more aggressive with his siblings or friends during the period that he is playing violent games, stop him from playing the games. If he becomes interested in history after playing historical games, then the game is beneficial to him.
What to look for in choosing a video game
•Decide what is acceptable in your home and if you think violent games are not acceptable, explain to your kid the reason why it might be bad for him.
•Check the Ratings of the game before you buy it or allow your kid to play it. Check its rating which is indicated in the box. Note the title and cover picture. If they have themes of sex and/or violence, then these themes are in the game. If possible, be familiar with the game or read its reviews in the internet. Sometimes, the “bad” part of the game is hidden in the higher levels. Do not neglect supervising your kid as a parent.
•Consider your child’s maturity level to determine which games are suitable for him. Chronological age is not necessarily a measure of maturity.
•Pick games that require the player to come up with strategies, and make decisions in a game environment that is more complex than punching, stealing, and killing.
•Look for games involving multiple players to encourage group play.
•According to Los Angeles-based psychotherapist Robert Butterworth, PhD , you should “evaluate the shows and games not just in terms of violence or obscenity, but in terms of the mental engagement that they require. Boys need to slay dragons and play games with action figures of cowboys and Indians,” he says. “They need to be in a fantasy where they are conquering heroes; suppressing this may have long-term effects that may not be good.”