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Children and Games

Author: Quentin Allison
04-Feb-2017

Category: Opinion

Children really shouldn't be playing video games, especially violent ones, right? Well, that's maybe not true. Let us find out!


Children and Games

I feel about as much disgust as anyone when seeing a kid walk around with the latest Iphone texting their friends, even more if they're taking a selfie. But it is well within their rights to do so, their parents allowed them to use the phone despite both it's addictive nature and influences from the internet. So why are video games treated with such hostility?

Games have evolved excellently in the past 30 years, going from a child's pastime to a multi-billion dollar industry. Now they're accepted more easily by the general public, even going so far as to having proffesional tournaments where huge sums of money are on the line for some lucky team to win. Yet games don't get the same treatment privately by parents and teachers, often being considered a "waste of time" or "useless" or a "negative influence". How many times have you heard growing up that playing video games will never lead to a fulfilling career? Well, look at me now Dad! Joking aside, games are a hobby for many and for some they are immensely important, literally the difference between paying ends meet or going bankrupt. This isn't to ignore the cognitive and developmental benefits children receive by playing games, which is far more important than the millions gained by the latest CoD release. So why do we shun the idea of children playing games?

Boy do I love looking at studies, especially when they prove me right! In this case, an article written by Dr. Andrew K. Przybylski for the Pediatrics: The Official Journal Of The American Academy of Pediatrics, the article is titled Electronic Gaming and Psychosocial Adjustment, challenges the idea that video games are harmful to children. He has a PhD so you know what he says is legit. But lets get on to the article!

First, it should be said that the findings were expected. Essentially finding that children with less than 1 hour of gameplay experienced positive effects that non-players would not experience, including "higher levels of prosocial behavior and life satisfaction and lower levels of internalizing and ex-ternalizing problems compared with nonplayers". On the other hand, children that played for 3 hours or more experienced "higher levels of internalizing and externalizing problems, and lower levels of prosocial behavior and life satisfaction. Interestingly enough, moderate players, those who spent between 1 and 3 hours of gameplay, reported little to no differences to those who didn't play video games.

To say it simply: Children shouldn't play a game for too long. Similar to how your or I shouldn't, or how nobody should eat McDonalds every day. Overall, the findings were pretty simple; children shouldn't play video games in excess, like all things moderation is key. Too bad it took a rigorous study to figure that one out.



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