With all these extra time at home, kids are spending a lot of that playing video games. And based on some of the discussions online, I have seen parents asking about how to gauge their kids usage time on video games
After doing some extensive research into the social impact of online games, there is quite a mixture between the positive and negative aspects for gaming. Lets discuss about the benefits of gaming. By looking at how the trending game Roblox, it seems like the new generation of games are indeed fantastic tools for learning, particularly for cognitive skills such as visio-spatial skills, problem solving, and multitasking. Games are also fantastic tools for social connection, especially now that we are physically distanced from each other. Socializing with with others is key to our psychological well-being and associated with a whole range of physical benefits, including increased immune system, improved mood, and a reduced sense of loneliness.
It is also important to remember that games are fun because they are playful, and play in and of itself is associated with releasing of endorphins and reduced stress and depression.
So with too much gaming, what signs should you be looking for? Well, there is no question that some people use games problematically. It is important to look out for whether or not someone is experiencing negative repercussions due to play in every area of their lives – socially, psychologically, physically, occupationally, etc. – over an extended period of time. It is important to note that this is not the same as someone simply playing a lot. Someone can log a lot of game time playing their favorite game with friends but still maintain a healthy life balance.
It is important to note that creating transparent boundaries is a great way to make sure everyone is on the same page. Before the console, computer, or tablet gets switched on, there should be clear guidelines that games are a privilege and there are boundaries and restrictions around their use. For example, you can play until X time, X amount of minutes, or X amount of rounds. Making sure your children acknowledge these boundaries will reduce the likelihood of “battles” later on.
I would say that this is a perfect time for parents to start learning the games and bonding with their child at the same time. By asking your child about what they like to play and see if they can “show you the ropes” so to speak. Having the chance to engage with your children in the virtual worlds that they love provides a fantastic opportunity us as parents to show interest in our children’s interests and perhaps learn something new. In terms of specific games, classics like Minecraft and the latest iteration of Animal Crossing: New Horizons are two fantastic titles that require minimal amount of skill or time commitment to learn and play and are fun for all ages.