There has been a good amount of research in understanding the video-game effects on the development of children. Games come in all shapes and forms and some can be entertaining and relaxing, while others could be challenging and good to learn. However, not all games are good for children and their effects can vary from being beneficial to turning into an addiction.
Positive Effects of Video Games on Children
Here are some of the advantages of playing video games for children.
1. Working Together as a Team
Most games these days are played online or have a multiplayer mode that allows your kid to play it with their friend or with many others over the internet. This helps in building the skills required to work together as a team and solve problems together.
2. Better Decision Making
Games function in real time and most games are fast paced that required the player to make quick decisions in a short period of time. This helps in sculpting the decision-making skills in a child that are necessary for certain real-life applications like sports or medicine, where split-second decisions are necessary to be taken under pressure.
3. Maintaining Accuracy in Fast Decisions
Making quick decisions is of no use if they are going to be wrong. Video games help your kid maintain a good level of accuracy by learning to calculate all the dependent parameters fast. This is extremely useful, which is why even soldiers and doctors are advised to play video games to sharpen their short-term decision-making skills.
4. Coordination Between Hands and Eyes
Developing the skills to control motor functions without looking at them takes a good amount of time. By playing video games, kids begin to learn what movement of their limbs will have an effect to what degree in the space and visual references before them. This hand-eye coordination is required in nearly all sports and can even be beneficial in puzzle solving.
5. Better Cognitive Functioning
When a certain skill is repeated multiple times, the brain starts developing its structure and creates new neural pathways and transmitters to optimize its functioning. This has been observed in musicians and artists and is also seen while playing video games too. In times when intense concentration is applied, the brain moulds itself to be able to solve problems faster, which can ultimately also help in solving issues in real life.
Negative Effects of Video Games on Children
The disadvantages of playing video games are also pronounced. Some of them include:
1. Health Issues
Kids who spend a lot of time playing video games instead of indulging in physical activities can harm their health in a variety of ways. Constantly sitting in one place and playing video games at length can increase the chances of obesity, weaken the muscles and joints, make hands and fingers numb due to over-exertion, and can even weaken eyesight.
2. Academic Issues
The excitement and fun that video games provide are in stark contrast to a typical day in school. This can cause kids to prefer video games over anything else and fail to pay attention at school. Even outside school, they may skip homework or studying for tests and choose to play video games instead, resulting in poor performance.
3. Exposure to Wrong Values
Many video games in the market are oriented towards the mature audience. These video games contain excessive violence, over-the-top sexuality, profanity, racism, and many other aspects that cannot be perceived by kids in the right manner. They fail to take these depictions with a pinch of salt and end up trying to emulate the same behaviour as portrayed in the games.
4. Socially Disconnected
Even though multiplayer games exist, most kids end up playing them by themselves in their own rooms. This severely limits their interpersonal skills in real life, preferring to be by themselves and interact digitally. Such kids fail to strike up conversations and feel bored and out of place at social gatherings, too.
5. Aggressive Behaviour
The violent content in video games and the instant gratification that they provide can cause the kids to be impatient and aggressive in their behaviour. When things fail to go as planned or any restrictions are laid on kids, they can lash out or start harbouring aggressive thoughts that can manifest in troublesome behaviour.