It is often reported that video games can have a negative effect upon children and increase violent tendencies. But I do wonder, do video games really have this impact or is it not just another excuse for the lack of leadership?
Me owning a video game store and being a parent of two now grown boys, both of my sons often had a game controller in their hands at a young age. Both of them could beat Mario by age 2! Both of them also knew what a video card was at a young age. At a young age they both could also type better than many adults.
These two gaming nerds are also now fine young gentlemen with bright careers before them. One has ventured into mechanical engineering and the other is currently pursuing a career in sound engineering. These two interests F95zone both stem from their exposure to video games and technology I believe.
Trust me when I say I quite often gave the exposure to all of this high tech gadgetry on my sons some very serious thought. Was gaming going to effect them in a negative way? Would it cause them to react with violent tendencies when frustrated with a game? Would gaming cause them to go out with baseball bats and beat people in the streets?
As this was a major concern I kept a very close eye out for any signs that gaming was having an effect on them. And I did see effects! But not what one would think. What I found was that they were learning to problem solve beyond their age! Their analytical abilities were being exercised along with their desire to exercise these new found abilities. And all of this new interest was coming from playing video games!
Where I had been looking for negative effects on their young minds I never once considered the positive effects that gaming may have! I will admit that there were times when they got frustrated at a game and I had to tell them to put it away. But frustration is a normal emotion when confronting a problem that is not easily solved. I am also guilty of having controllers sprout wings and them magically fly across the room. When it gets to this stage it is time to put the games away and turn their attention to other things, such as exercise.
With moderation, gaming can teach an array of mental and motor skills.
For the most part these two young heathens were learning to use their brains and to teach themselves. And the best part was is they enjoyed it! Instead if restricting their gaming I chose to use this technology as a tool for teaching them
Their interest in video games caused them to ask how are video games created? How could they possibly take their own ideas and make them into a game? You might ask what is the benefit of this? Just think about it, games are digital, and to work with it you must use math. Programming is nothing but algebra put to use. If they wanted to program they needed to excel in math and learn new concepts. Also in programming you must be precise and cannot rush through development. You must create and coordinate a plan. And then you must put that plan into action! Look at all of the abilities that these two young boys have just taken an interest in!
As a Parent you have to take the responsibility and monitor the game play. I believe 2 hours of game play should be the maximum amount of time before a child should turn their attention towards exercise and other things. I also think gaming has far more positive effects on children than watching television does. There isn’t a whole lot of thought processing going on when one veg’s to the television. Just like anything video gaming can be abused and needs to be controlled. But with the proper games, parental guidance, and proper scheduling you can turn their love for gaming into a learning experience. New interests can be quickly developed by utilizing various game genres. You as the parent must take control of the situation and not always trust the child to make the correct judgment without leadership. They are not born with good judgment but learn it through experience. As with anything else they do in their young life they need guidance and will look to you for this.
So do not let all of the hype of video games being evil scare you. They can be a wonderful teaching tool if used correctly. Be sure to give your guidance when selecting new games. Read reviews and be sure that the games that you allow them to play are for their age range. You do not want your 5 year old playing Grand Theft Auto for example. This game is meant for an older group and is quite violent.