The world of gaming is constantly expanding and continues to register dizzying numbers from every point of view. The relationship between video games and children is not easily analyzed and cannot be examined by citing simple personal opinions if not supported by professional opinions.
Can video games be harmful if children are allowed to play them indiscriminately and without rules? Yes, like anything else taken to excess, on the other hand. Therefore, with this article, we want to try to give ten valuable tips to parents who intend to accompany their children to discover the videogame universe.
1. Video games are not babysitters
It is the same story that happens with television. It is not uncommon for parents to use cartoons to keep their children quiet. In the technological age, television has been replaced by tablets and smartphones.
Video games must NEVER take the place of parents, who often, only to complain about it, are the first to expose their children to excesses. A child cannot measure the time he spends in front of the TV or PC, resulting in overexposure to the visual stimuli of video games.
This can lead, among other things, to postural problems and sleep disturbances.
2. Agree on a certain number of hours a day
Oxford University conducted a study that argues that playing video games every day for less than an hour can positively impact development. The level of satisfaction increases when you are not over-stimulated. According to the study, if you go beyond three hours, your satisfaction level drops dramatically. The research was conducted on five thousand boys between 10 and 15 years.
Video game developers advise on their games on the “warning page” to break every hour of play. Parents should agree in advance, with their children, the number of hours dedicated to gaming and the most suitable time slots.
3. Approach video games without prejudice
Have you ever discussed music with a friend? He doesn’t like a singer or a whole genre that you love. When you ask him what song he listened to reach those conclusions, he says ‘none’. Doesn’t it bother you enormously?
Well, this happens with a little bit of everything, even with video games. Try it yourself is always the wisest choice. Only with direct experience can concrete judgments be made and not based on conjectures. And if you prefer an alternate approach, to clear your head of prejudices, you need to get a culture, collect data, and seek expert advice. On the web, which is sometimes unnecessarily demonized, you can find a great deal of information on any subject.
Much research shows that this is alarmism and prejudice.
4. Beware of your children’s bad habits
The relationship between video games and children cannot be just black or white. There are grey areas. The fact that much research has denied the correlation between violent video games and aggression does not exclude bad habits on the part of young people when they approach video games.
Parents must be vigilant, a verb that is not synonymous with prohibiting. Always remember that gaming has significant cognitive benefits. Researchers compiled a list of positive effects of video games on mental processes:
- Increased sensitivity to visual contrast
- Improvement of spatial attention
- Improved ability to follow moving objects in a distracter field
- Reduction of impulsivity
- Greater ability to engage in multiple tasks simultaneously
- Greater mental flexibility
5. Loot Box: Children Exposed to Gambling?
The phenomenon of microtransactions and loot boxes is growing month by month. What are these microtransactions?
As the name implies, they are transactions carried out in-game with real currency and allow you to purchase content not made available to the player in the base game. These can be purely cosmetic items or real bonuses and upgrades that allow players to become stronger and win more easily.
Many titles make use of it, especially free to play games. Take the example of Path of Exile, a game that attracts a vast player base due to it being free, but on the other side, it sells cheap poe currency, making it essentially a pay to win game.
What is the real danger? The loot boxes were put under the magnifying glass to their being very similar, such as mechanical, gambling. The advice, however, can be extended to parents who have older, more independent children.
Check that your children do not get caught up in compulsive “shopping” and that they do not use any credit cards recklessly. Like anything else, loot boxes are not the absolute evil, but they need to be regulated.