Too much of anything is never good; this doesn’t only imply to kids but also adults. Playing video games is one of those many things that kids indulge in from a very young age.
Is it Safe For Kids To Play Video Games?
However, there are ongoing debates that highlight the terrible effects primarily, but it’s also true that video games can positively affect your child’s development. Some studies have shown how playing video games can enhance their cognitive health and problem-solving skills.
On the contrary, research explains how video games can cause disrupted sleep, anti-social behavioral issues, and aggression in young kids.
The Safety Factor
Kids’ video games are safe, provided they are not exposed to anything highly inappropriate for them. It could be a game on their Ipad, tablet, or PlayStation that requires a game console for 5 years and above. There are certain dangers involved that can cause behavioral changes.
However, as parents, there are ways you can prevent this by taking adequate measures such as monitoring what kind of video games they are playing. Whichever way you choose to watch your kids playing video games, make sure that your way of communication is approachable.
Building trust with your child is vital. The last thing you want your child to think is you are the video game police. Otherwise, they will not feel comfortable telling the truth. Plus, you want them to be more inclined to inform you how they feel.
Initially, there are three factors to consider if you let them play video games. They are your child’s personality, the environment or situation they are in, and the motivation or purpose of playing video games.
What’s The Right Age For Kids To Start Playing Video Games?
Covid has compelled parents to hand over devices to kids at a very young age – there’s only so many children can do when they are stuck indoors. Our new normal has pushed us to choose device-based games to keep the kids busy.
Parents can start introducing a little bit of screen time to kids from 18 months. Ideally, children below 18 months should not have access to any screens overall, according to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). However, it’s best if it can be avoided.
Kids aged between three to five years can spend an hour watching age-appropriate videos or playing games on their devices – but their parents must strictly monitor it.
Here are some ways parents can monitor their children playing video games.
Start Setting Boundaries
There are various reasons young kids show interest in playing video games. Some of the interests are related to their brain development in a good way. So, as parents, you have to consciously set boundaries to what kind of video games they are allowed to play and for how long.
You can’t allow children to play Minecraft all day, even though this game promotes STEM. Children need a healthy routine to grow to their highest potential, both physically and mentally. As parents, you need to facilitate that by ensuring that they spend their free time on toys, playing outside, and getting quality hours of rest.
Your child will come to know about video games sooner or later, but having specific parameters or boundaries makes all the difference in their choices of games.
Say Yes To Age-appropriate Games Only
This is an essential tip for all parents, not just in video games, but also applies to the content of videos they are allowed to watch. It is precisely like giving them a book with a story that is not child-friendly. It has to be age-appropriate, period.
If you are okay with your child playing video games, make sure the subject matter is suitable for their age. Your child could be four years and know how to read and add numbers. This is beyond their development.
This means that your child may be four years old but has a five-year-old’s cognitive skills. In these cases, encourage them to play video games appropriate for five-year-old kids.
There are currently unlimited games for preschoolers on the internet, but that doesn’t mean that they are all child-friendly. Games with complex situations and complicated buttons can often overwhelm little kids and channel out frustration in them.
When you let them play a game, play it yourself to determine whether it’s okay for them mentally. Explore your curiosity all you want.
There is a misconception that all video games are full of violence and aggression for some odd reason. That’s not entirely true. You can still find less noisy games, more gentle, educational, and engaging.
If you ever notice them playing anything that’s not age-appropriate, explain why it’s not a good idea instead of just telling them not to play it. They will not be able to process the reasons behind it unless you explain it to them in their language.
Try to encourage them to talk about it. Something you can be a part of. If they see you participate, they’ll be more transparent with their choices of video games in the future.
This doesn’t mean that you play video games with them every time. Just ask questions about the game; they’re always happy to talk about things they love. Showing interest in something they enjoy is a fantastic way to build a solid relationship with your child.
Let them open up about what they are achieving through the video game; it will make them feel more valuable and boost their confidence. So, even if you are worried that your child is not learning anything from playing video games, you’ll notice their problem-solving skills are improving visibly.
Kids these days are technologically intelligent. Everything is one click away, and parents need to raise tech-healthy kids.
This doesn’t mean that they are allowed to exceed the hours they can play video games. While you strictly monitor the content and hours spent, you can still encourage them to be active learners.
Lastly, check the classifications and age ratings before letting your child start a new video game. Check first if you feel it’s okay for them; only then download it on their devices. Once they are hooked, it’ll be more challenging for you to convince them to stop playing.
It’s also a great idea to keep them away from using headphones on their devices so that you can always hear the content or the language being used in the video game. Be careful; many games have been banned in various countries for using language that is not child-appropriate.