Online games tend to have a bad reputation among parents. The interactive and immersive quality of online games is seen as detrimental to a child’s psychological health. Playing online games for long periods supposedly causes detachment or downright addiction, ultimately hurting a child’s relationship with their families as well as their future.
But debates about online gaming are starting to yield favorable results — on the gamer’s end. More and more research data are suggesting that playing online games is actually beneficial. While online gaming addiction is real and shouldn’t be downplayed, players won’t automatically develop it. Parents can take steps to prevent it on their children.
If your child has started to play online games, you might be wondering if you should limit it, or allow them total freedom. Limiting them can cause arguments since children aren’t easily convinced to stop doing something they enjoy. On the other hand, allowing them total freedom can make them uninterested in other activities, such as hanging out with you or going outside. So, are online games really your enemy?
Online Games Have Brain-enhancing Benefits
In preschool children, online games like “Endless Alphabet” can help them feel more engaged with learning. Given today’s technology, it has become the norm to use electronic devices to teach lessons to young children. It may be a little sad and shocking to see that kids these days are so familiar with technology, but that’s actually a sign of good progression. Kids need to be adept at technology because they’re the next generation that’s going to improve it.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should use a smartphone or a tablet to appease your child’s mood swings. There are healthier ways to immerse children in technology without making them dependent on it. For kids and teens 5 to 18 years old, experts recommend limiting the time they spend on media. These include video and online games. Teach them to have a proper bedtime routine so that they’d automatically unplug on their bedtime. Sleep remains superior when it comes to enhancing cognitive development and other brain functions.
Online Games May Improve Math and Literacy
Some parents are positive that online games disrupt their child’s academic learning. They often attribute low grades to a child prioritizing online games over their studies. While that’s true to a certain degree, scholars have also argued that online games, particularly multi-player types, foster a range of skills that promote higher order thinking. As a result, they improve math and literacy.
This is indeed possible because online games encourage critical thinking and problem-solving. In addition, they require players to take in a lot of information. Thus, regularly playing online games help children improve their short-term and long-term memory, allowing their brains to process information faster. As such, they can solve mathematical equations quicker.
But that finding is still subject to debate because other studies point out that people good at maths and sciences already play lots of online games anyway. Still, one thing’s for sure: online games aren’t meant to hinder your child from developing their academic skills.
Parents Should Play Online Games With Their Kids
If online games are forming a rift between you and your child, nothing will make them happier than seeing you try to learn about online games. Besides, it’s not online games that are breaking you apart. Rather, it’s your behavior towards it. The more you talk bad about online games, the farther your child wants to stray from you.
Families can use online games to create collaborative endeavors at home. Try Minecraft, a game that requires you to build protective enclosures against monsters. It will urge your whole family to engage in collaborative problem-solving because your combined efforts will help you avoid defeat.
Moreover, some online games, particularly Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda, provide opportunities to talk about representation or the lack thereof. You can ask questions such as, “Why are the men saving the women?”, or “Why are girls often portrayed as princesses or victims?” You can also ask why there are not enough people of color, or if there are, why are they the antagonists?
These discussions aren’t exactly ideal at the dinner table, but playing online games provides the perfect environment for it. Many online games aren’t so different from books and movies. They also need diversity.
Plus, if you join your kid in playing online games, you’ll gain more knowledge in what’s the latest or best devices. It may cause you to realize that you’ve been using an outdated PC for a while now, and could benefit from building your own custom PC that’s faster and more powerful.
So, should you encourage online games then? Yes, as long as you promote moderation. Help your child create a healthy playing routine that won’t put them at risk for addiction. That way, they can maximize the benefits of online games, and avoid the detriments.
Meta title: Should Parents Encourage Online Gaming?
meta desc: When online games are just becoming popular, a lot of parents were worried that it would endanger their children’s psychological health. But is that really the case, or should parents actually encourage it? Read on to find out.