The subject of Video Games and Children has been a long and often misunderstood debate all across America for decades.
“Video games will rot your mind!”
We’ve all heard that phrase growing up. It’s a good bet that a vast majority of readers have played a video game at different points in their lives.
I myself played my first video game back when I was 7 years old with the Atari 2600, moving up to the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) shortly after progressing through system after system as I got older.
With kids of my own, I had to ask myself…
How Young is TOO YOUNG for Video Games?
The subject of WHEN you should allow your child to start playing video games is entirely up to you as a parent.
Video Games can be a very powerful tool in teaching your child new cognitive skills and hand eye coordination.
My son played his first Mobile Game at 2 years old. It was an iPad game created for toddlers and it consisted primarily of matching and sorting shapes, colors, numbers, and letters.
HE MASTERED IT!
By the time he entered 3 year old preschool (Yea… that’s a thing!) he was already way ahead of most of the other kids in those subjects.
Now we didn’t just let him run off to his room with iPad in hand. We sat with him and monitored his progress and helped him out when needed.
Now my son recently turned five and I’ve been considering getting a console for the whole family. But that’s a different article!
The important part about allowing your toddler to play video games is…
Just as important to adults, performing any activity for prolonged periods of time without taking breaks can actually cause more harm than good.
Allowing a child to play games for hours on end has been linked with…
- Conduct Problems
- Peer Conflicts
- Reduced Social Abilities
Spending just an hour per week playing video games has been associated with higher achievements in school and better motor skills overall. (Video gaming in school children: How much is enough – Annals of Neurology 2016)
Another important issue to consider with allowing your child to play video games is…
Apparently allowing a 4 year old to play Resident Evil isn’t a good idea! Who knew?
Select age appropriate games just as you would T.V. Shows for them to watch.
Did you know video games have a rating system just like Television and Movies? It’s called the ESRB and it was created as a means to give parents a better understanding at the type of game your kid is begging you to buy at the register.
You wouldn’t allow a toddler to watch something Rated R would you?
ESRB Ratings range from Early Childhood to ADULTS ONLY 18+.
Most toddlers should be fine playing games in the Early Childhood and E for Everyone categories! With more educational games tending to be in the Early Childhood category.
Allowing your child to play video games at any age won’t destroy their minds as long as you monitor what they are playing and how long they play it for.
But hey, it’s your kid and that’s entirely up to you!
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