Well, we’ve reached the third and final installment of our series on video games. If you haven’t yet read parts one and two, you should go back and do that now.
In part one we looked at the psychological impacts of video gaming, and in part two we looked at the physical effects that it could have. In this final chapter, we want to discuss a little bit of both the good and the bad. Our goal is not to villainize or vindicate either side. Instead, we want to help you navigate the complicated landscape of gaming and make informed decisions that promote a healthy lifestyle in your child’s life.
When thinking about the world of gaming, we need to realize that there is such a wide array of games. There are mobile games, computer games, console games, virtual reality games, etc. And on each of these platforms there are hundreds of genres of games: first-person-shooter, role-play, strategy, survival, turn-based, and the list goes on and on. Each of these genres has hundreds and sometimes thousands of titles in their subcategories. There are so many video games out there. In the midst of this multitude of games, it is so easy to feel overwhelmed as a parent.
How do we deal with the thousands upon thousands of games out there?
We need to become informed parents. For every video game that is released, there are multiple reviews, articles, videos, and walkthroughs made about that game. The amount of content is staggering. This availability of information gives us the power to know what the newest games are like and if your child should be playing them. You can look up a game trailer on youtube, watch a walkthrough of the gameplay to see what it is like, read reviews, and then decide if the content and message of the game is harmful or not to your child.
The other side of the video game dilemma is, “how much game time is too much?” While it would be easy to have an arbitrary amount of time that you can set per week, it depends on a lot of factors. How is your child sleeping? How is their social life? Are they doing well in school? Are they getting regular physical exercise?
Keeping track of all the other recreational activities your child engages in can be a useful metric to use. How much time do they spend gaming compared to… reading? Playing outside? Crafting or drawing? Playing sports? As you look at all of these things, video gaming should be on the lower end of the spectrum. For some parents that means an hour a day, for others that could mean only on weekends. Striking a healthy balance is important. It gives your child boundaries and establishes that video games are not a healthy default form of entertainment.
Another tip for keeping better tabs on your child’s video game usage is to keep the gaming console in a central location in the home. If they have an Xbox or PlayStation in their room, they’re more likely to be tempted to be gaming when they should be doing something else.
Finally, don’t be afraid to game with your child. Asking them to teach you the game and spending time learning how to play shows that you care about their interests. Coming to their level to learn about something new that they enjoy is a great way to bond and have fun.
We hope that this series of articles on video gaming has been helpful and that you’ve enjoyed it and learned something new.
As with all the topics we write about, if you feel that you would like more information or the chance to talk to a licensed professional, please reach out to us at (855) 543-7687 or contact us through our home page https://kidmatterscounseling.com/
Owner | Child Therapist | LCPC, RPT
Parenting is hard! But you don’t have to do it alone. I work with children and parents to resolve emotional conflict, cultivate healing, and nurture hope.
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