Thursday, July 3, 2014

Video Games, ... Good and Bad

In my opinion video games are good because they provide hours of enjoyment for people young and old. They can be bad (for young people) for the same reason, "hours of enjoyment," when some of those hours can be spent learning to enjoy activities that have some long term positive benefit. Physical exercise, reading, drawing, playing a musical instrument, cooking, social development (ie. friends), earning money (at home or in the community), conversation, museum visits, etc. But for children to sit and enjoy hours of violent, sometimes sexually provocative, escape from reality, these video games are not good for them. Now, of course we can all use some occasional escapism. But some of these games are just too much for young minds to be exposed to for hours at a time. It has to influence their thinking/feeling some. Anything that a child spends many hours focusing on daily, becoming emotionally involved with, not only influences their thinking, but their behavior. This also goes for the music they listen to, the movies they watch, and internet sites that they visit.

You do not have to cut it all out (unless you have to), but you should be aware of what they are being exposed to in your home and in the homes of their friends. A lot of parents don't think about what their kids may be getting at their friend's house. Figure out how to check that out. And add some balance to your kid's video time. For example, for each hour of video games, an hour of reading or studying. Maybe they earn video game time by doing chores, or by getting good grades. Expose them to other activities, and perhaps participate with them. I don't want to mention any specific games, but I heard this morning about a game that focuses on one person stabbing another, for some reason (?). In today's world, in which so many people have anger (and violence) problems, do we need our kids practicing stabbing (or shooting) vicariously over and over again, day in and day out? How does anyone WIN at that game?