The dominance of technology in our lives has always been a subject of heated discussion. Digital media has even transgressed into our kids’ childhood. Gone are the days when children looked forward to picnics and rushed to play outdoors. Now infants are seen tapping the screens of Smartphones, tablets and wiggling joysticks plopped on the couch. Rolling eyes and yelling at them to shut that screen and do something productive is a daily battle.
Video games are electronic games which involve manipulation of objects displayed on the screen to attain goals. They can be played on phones, phablets, tablets, computers, televisions and specially developed gaming consoles such as Microsoft XBox, Sony Playstation, Nintendo etc. Some of these consoles come with motion sensing devices which detect and capture the movements of the player and project them on the screen. These are real time stimulations, i.e. if you sway your hand as if giving a shot with the bat, then the player on the screen appears to be batting on-screen.
Video games can also be addictive in nature, you you need to keep a check on the compulsion of video games your child plays. If you think in line with the traditional contemplation that video games make kids aggressive and violent, hold on! There are music video games as well. Video games may not be all bad, here’s how:
As noted by C. Shawn Green, psychologist at the University of Wisconsin, “Video games change your brain.” Just like when a child learns to read, play, and other things, the brain undergo the same structural changes when he plays video games. Video games call for a heightened combination of concentration and rewarding oneself. These emotions cause the increase of neurotransmitters like dopamine that in turn strengthens neural circuits that can build the brain.
Enlisted below are some scientifically proven benefits of video games:
Shooting soldiers and indulging in high speed races can act as a stress buster! Your child forgets his anxieties and worries. Video games are a blessing for injured kids as they distract from discomfort and pain
The movements of console buttons and joystick increase the maneuvering skills along with:
Playing video games involves being attentive and alert at all times. One twitch here and you could lose. Video games help in increasing concentration by being competitive
While playing a video game, a child has to manage multiple objectives and track many variables at one go. This makes him an expert at multitasking
A child’s cognitive skills get honed as video games create simulating scenarios that are stressful. It is at this time that a child’s ability to come up with some solution enhances. Other benefits are-
Rather than blankly watching telly, games encourage the child to actively indulge in strategic planning with observation within the stipulated time limits
Helps in clarifying basic mathematical concepts with the help of interactive and colorful animations
Such as civil engineering, town planning and mathematics. Some people claim that after playing Sims, many kids wanted to take up architecture as a career choice
Games like SimCity, Age of Empires, and Railroad Tycoon inspire children to understand that resources are always limited and should be put to the best use
This is particularly useful for girls
Your kid will huff and puff in order to pass the level or master a tactic. “Try, try till you succeed” – well learned!
Games that involve multi players are a good way to make your child learn and develop team spirit
Games such as Age of Mythology, Civilization, and Age of Empires may fire interest in world history, geography, ancient cultures and international relations
Discussion on games and moves bonds friendship
A child may want to practice the new move of soccer, cricket or basketball that he just twisted and turned in the digital frame for real!
Allows fun time spent together by father-son sharing common interests
As he keeps on clearing harder and tougher levels, his confidence in taking up challenges and risks increase.
Games that involve multiple players encourage your child to work in collaboration and as a team to achieve his goals. He learns to listen to the ideas of others, formulate plans with other kids, and distribute tasks based on skills.
Games are not forever!! Because there are time limits, your child learns to manage tasks within the stipulated time
Not all video games require sitting glued to the screen. With real world simulation, your kid is not dependent going to the tennis court in heavy rainfall or rely on friends for company
Allows interaction with friends around the world, inculcates the sense of sharing and requesting politely
You can find your kid suddenly chirpy, excited and happy post shooting those angry birds or clearing another level with a high score
Most often, it is violence that gets blamed as the bad effect of playing video games. Everything serves a purpose, but only under moderation and parental guidance. If your child is addicted to video games, the following negative effects could kick in:
Kids tend to act those kicks and punches in real during fights. Video games promote the idea of being aggressive and violent way too much. Fine out the effect of violent movies on toddler here.
Too much gaming may lead to disinterest in other activities. Higher scores may just catch the child’s fancy and he may simply sit glued to the game. Find out how to break the toddler’s addiction to TV
Being lazy and finding excuses to get back to the game leads to a lack of discipline in general life
Too much exposure to violence rewarded by points and bonus de-sensitizes against violence. A child feels that it is okay to be aggressive, and sound rude.
Like everything else, excess of everything can be bad. If not controlled, your child may put all his energy in playing video games and his academics may suffer. Find out how to deal with bad academic performance.
The outdoor physical activity in the sun and fresh oxygen is vital in those developing years. If your child prefers sitting inside glued to video games, it could prove detrimental to his health
Your kid may not leave game to meet relatives and opt to stay home and play rather than go for picnic. A child may become an introvert and loose the essence of social connections. He can also be a loner
Alters perception towards women by their portrayal as damsel in distresses wearing revealing clothes
Junk food is portrayed cool in games. Have a burger for energy or take some fries to wake up. Not at all a good idea! Find out tips to prevent obesity in children.
Video games promote and reward violent actions and vengeance. Aggression is awarded and negotiation and other solutions are not given as options. Read more on the subject here
Impulsive behavior is encouraged in video games, and this may lead him to challenge rules, especially in schools
In the language development years, a child may learn inappropriate words and slangs from the games and you may be in for a nasty surprise someday
A game is quick, at the hit of a button. This may press your child to have quick results all the time, making his tolerance and patience levels really low. He may also appear anxious at the hint of a slight delay
Kids may end up pondering over the characters, losing, winning and scores at bed time. Sleep disorders can set in as an impact of aggressive stories and actions, thinking about game
Too much of screen is sure to hurt your child’s eyes! Postural, muscular and skeletal disorders, such as tendonitis, nerve compression, carpal tunnel syndrome may crop up as a result of too much time spent on video games
Educational games: based on memory and patter recognition, spatial and cognitive skills
Entertaining games: Motion-controlled games
You can opt for Nintendo and Leapster explorer for your kid rather than the pricey PlayStations and XboX. These are designed for the tiny hands of your child and offer a plethora of family games.
Now join your kid in an adventure or practice spellings with his favourite cartoon! You can even shake a leg with your sweetie on a playful dance number and stay fit! Or simply sit back and regress to your childhood. Remember, gaming in moderation and supervision only will be beneficial!
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