Games Console – How Much Time is Safe?

  • By: Beth Morrisey
  • Time to read: 3 min.

There has been a great debate recently about how much time is safe for children to spend at game consoles and playing video games. However, like many other aspects of child rearing, there is no hard and fast rule that works for every family. Your child will experience the many Benefits Of Playing Computer Games but when it comes to time restrictions, you need to think about each child as an individual.

Particularly in regards to games consoles, you may find that your decision is based on the development of the child, the content of the games being played, and whether the child engages in physical and social activities. When you look at this big picture, you will likely be able to decide what time limit works best in your household and for each child.

Development of the Child

Today advertising is marketed at children of all ages, even including infants. But just because it’s out there doesn’t mean that parents necessarily need to buy it and/or allow their children to use it. Parents should evaluate not only each child’s individual age but physical, emotional and social development as well.

For example, a child lacking small muscle control may build up this skill by typing at a computer keyboard while playing a computer game with his or her parents. However, a child who has limited social skills should not necessarily be left to sit in front of a games console for hours simply because he or she prefers it to interacting with others.

Content of the Game

The content of the game that a child particularly enjoys playing should also inform a parent’s decision regarding time limits. Some studies have shown that children who spend a good deal of time with violent games may exhibit greater aggressive behaviour. However, children who spend time with fun, educational games may well do better at school.

Still other children who enjoy playing games based on sports may see an increase in hand-eye coordination. Parents who are unsure of the type of games children are playing should do a thorough inventory of their children’s games catalogue and test out a few themselves to see what they entail.

Physical and Social Activities

Some children who enjoy playing games consoles do so because there is little physical or social activity involved. Parents should be vigilant that playing with games consoles does not take the place of physical activities during their children’s free time, and that children who enjoy video games still have time to participate in social activities as well. While electronic games can be entertaining, they should never take the place of the real world in a child’s life. If parents are concerned about this, tighter time limits may need to be implemented.

Games consoles and electronic games can be a fun diversion for children, but they should not be allowed to become a child’s whole world. Setting an appropriate limit on how often, and for how long, a child can play an electronic game is important for making sure that children have time for other activities as well. When determining these limits, parents should take into account the development of the child, the content of the game and the physical and social activities of which the child is usually a part.

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