Opinion: “Playing Video Games: The Harmful Effects for Children.”
In this era of advanced information and technology, the chances are that most children have been playing or they will start playing video games in the future. As technology advances, the gaming industry continues to grow too with the children as the major consumers. A study in the year 2010 in America indicated that children at the average age of 8 to 12 years play video games for 13 hours per week. The prominence of video games in children’s lives ensures that it is not easy to prevent them entirely from playing these games. For this reason, the most significant question for all stakeholders involved in bringing up children is whether excessive play of the video games has serious harmful effects on children. The presence and accessibility of a wide range of video games in the society pose a challenge in evaluating the destructive outcome of video games to children. Luckily, a lot of research concerning this topic has been done, and it is easy to find out the negative effects associated with video games to children.
Today, parents encounter high occurrence of violent and aggressive behaviors among their children as one of the most significant problems. In essence, hardly do parents think that video games or other forms of entertainment including television and movies can be a major contributing factor to the increasing trend of violent behavior in children. However, studies reveal that there is a high correlation between this behavior and the types of video games children play. A wide range of video games in the industry is created today with the intention of targeting various areas of a child’s life. The games comprise of a variety of games that are meant for either relaxation, educative, and formal. Although these varieties of video games exist, in reality, violent games are more popular to both genders of children, unlike the educational games. Studies show that violent games have negative effects on the young generation whereby conducted experiments indicate changes in behavior that include increased patterns of aggression. Children have to participate in an active manner in the video games due to their engaging nature and in this case, they mostly connect with the aggressive characters in the game. Besides, violent activities are often rewarded in the games, putting children at a higher risk of adopting behaviors and thoughts that are hostile. Consequently, the aggressive behavior will be effectively installed in children through the video games.
Another harmful effect of video games on children is the consumption of too much of their free time. Children involved in playing video games end up becoming addicted to them. Research shows children in America spend 13 to 14 hours per week instead of an occasional one hour in a week. This time would have otherwise been spent engaging in other physical play activities, studying or carrying out chores. In this case, children end up losing so much in their life including, having poor social life and poor self-competency scores in areas such as academics, behavioral and interpersonal skills. Thus, children suffer by lacking some essential factors that will assist them in succeeding in their lives.
A third effect that is harmful to a child engaged in extreme times playing of video games is obesity. This is a serious problem to a child’s overall development. In 2009 -2010, the Centre for Diseases and Control reported that 12.1 % of kids aged between two and five years suffer from obesity. 18 %t of those aged between six and eleven years are also obese, and the situation is similar to children between 12 and 19 years accounting to 18.4 percent. These percentages of obesity among the young people can be attributed to the time factor that children spend playing video games. Children become lazy, and they would rather take a lot of their free time playing computer games instead of taking part in play activities that can help them in keeping physically fit.
Nonetheless, video games should also be considered as a form of entertainment that benefits kids in different ways. If used in moderation and selected appropriately, video games play a key role in a child’s life too. They help in problem-solving logically, enhancing the speed of thinking, and making decisions, improves coordination between the hands and eyes and improves children cooperation and teamwork if the game is played with others.
Therefore, parents need to find moderation for the amount of time their children spend playing video games. Entirely banning the games may be the best solution for some children while in others; it may take away a child’s source of joy depending on the games prominence to that child. However, allowing children to access the benefits of video games will also allow them to access the bad including exposure of their minds to violence, occupying all their free time and increasing their risk for obesity. Finally, it is essential that parent monitors the types of games a child is exposed to and plays. They can do this by checking the genres and descriptors represented by the game. In addition, parents can get information concerning the contents of a game from the Entertainment Software Rating Board ratings. The proper use of these ratings will help parents make choices for their children that are more informed. Playing video game has harmful effects to children. Children should be aware of this fact and do what is necessary to protect their children.