My son loves video games. He spends hours every day in his room playing them.
Is there any educational value to video games? Some seem like they could help him
learn strategy. But I worry that others may be too violent. –
Some games might improve kids' hand–eye coordination and problem-solving
skills. Video games that require kids to actually move or manipulate the game through
their own physical movement can even get sedentary kids moving — but not as
much as if they actually played outside or did sports. Other games don't have such
benefits, and violent video games have been shown to increase kids' aggressive behavior.
Like a lot of aspects of raising kids, when it comes to video games, the healthiest
approach is moderation.
For kids and teens 5 to 18 years, experts
recommend that parents place limits on time spent using any media.
This includes playing video games on gaming consoles, tablets, or smartphones. Using
media should not take the place of getting enough
sleep or being physically active. So consider setting limits to keep game-playing
from interfering with schoolwork, household chores, and the physical activity your
son needs every day.
Also, make sure that your son is playing games suitable for his age group.
All video games are rated and labeled by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
Steer clear of any rated "M" for "mature." Those are for ages 17 and older, and can
contain heavy-duty violence, strong language, and sexual content.
Keep the video game console in a common area of the house, not your son's room.
That way you can catch any inappropriate content in the games he plays, and he'll
be in a position to interact with others. Also pay attention to time spent playing
games on smartphones and tablets.
Make sure your son has other appealing choices: sports, activities, chances to
socialize with friends, and downtime to be creative. If you still have concerns about
his video game activity, talk with your doctor.