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What's Hiding In Your Child's Video Game?
In the world of virtual reality video games, parents must play an important role in helping their children identify with healthy media, while keeping them informed about negative media and violence. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, studies have proven a direct link between violence in video games and aggression in children and adolescents. For many busy families, video games readily become a convenient babysitter. Video games are a sedentary activity, with limited opportunities for social interaction and emotional development. Another major concern is the availability of graphic, disturbing and inappropriate material.
- Limit Game Playing Time
Playing video games can be a child's favorite pastime; however, it shouldn't be the main focus on their list of activities. Playing videos games as the main activity during your child's free time hinders their social interactive skills and takes away from imaginative play.
Parents should encourage their children to play with friends, make new friends or join in after-school, organized sports and other activities to help deter their children from only playing video games.
Parents need to set guidelines for the types of video games their children play and put clear-cut limits on their playing time.
Watch What Your Children Watch
It is important to be aware of the content in your children's video games. The younger the child, the more impressionable he or she is, and less experienced in evaluating content.
Even though a child may be chronologically a certain age, their social and emotional level of maturity may be different. Parents need to decide what is in the best interest of their children.
- Keep the Video Game Console Away from the Bedroom
If sending them to their room is a form of discipline, it isn't really a punishment if their video game console is in there. Plus, it can be a distraction if their room is a place where they do their homework. Having a game system in a child's room discourages participation in family, activities and extracurricular opportunities, especially for certain at-risk youth who are clearly in need of necessary psychosocial and emotional development.
- Avoid the First Person Shooter
Violent games that are viewed in the first person teach children how to act out violence and encourage anti-social behavior. Children who are allowed to play video games where they are acting out the shooting may become less sensitive to violence, seeing it as an acceptable way to settle conflicts and desire to see more violence in entertainment and real life.
- Talk to Your Child About the Games They Play
It is important to ask questions about what your children see both at home and when they are at a friends house because it may be very different from what you see. Many youth become desensitized to increasingly graphic images, may want to act out those themes they view to gain a sense of mastery, and many have a hard time distinguishing reality from fantasy, say Bradley Hospital experts.
Parents should ask their children to tell them the main point of the game and what characters they like and don't like and why.