Kids and Video Games

Recently we were invited to the birthday party of a 7-year-old kid. The father being by husband’s college buddy, we are all quite acquainted with the family. They decorated their spacious living room with balloons and posters of different cartoon characters. Arrangements were made for some quick indoor games and, there was an array of return gifts.

It was a perfect ambiance for kids to enjoy themselves in the so-called childish manner, but surprisingly all of them, including the ‘birthday boy’, glued themselves to the computer screen for a long time. They were playing a fast-paced computer game, racing car or something. The kids, most of them were boys, were so much engrossed in the game that even when it was time to cut the cake, his mother had to call him thrice. After the third call, which was evidently made with a stern face, the birthday kid, and his gang reluctantly joined the celebration. As soon as it was over, they were back to their business.

I was thinking of this addiction among today’s children. Even my son is no exception. Just a few weeks ago, as I was busy in my small garden, a pathetic spine-chilling cry made me shiver. It came from inside the house, “I’ll kill you, now or never”! I rushed to find out the reason and, to my utter disgust, it was my kid, shouting while targeting some villain in a video game. Well, he is allowed to play for an hour in the afternoon and, his punctuality in this respect is impeccable! Though every time he seems to forget the fact that it’s SIXTY minutes that makes an hour and, keeps on continuing until gets a nudge or two.

I’m not a helicopter mom and, I do really think that even playing computer games have some cognitive effects. In most games, the children are bound to take decisions in split seconds in order to make a winning move. It eventually improves their thinking ability, perception, attention and decision-making capability. But, yes, too much of anything is bad and games, being extremely addictive, can have worse effects in the future.

However, I think a healthy combination of everything is necessary for the upbringing of a child. Children should be encouraged to play physical games. I believe the buds bloom more happily when they are in contact with Mother Nature, it’s our duty to make our children understand and love life, as it is.

What do you think about gaming addiction? In case you are a parent, do you think you should put a complete restriction on games or be a little lenient?

Would love to know your opinion.

Image Courtsey: here

77 responses to “Kids and Video Games

  1. May be gaming hours can be allotted in the form of ‘rewards’ for some task. Tahole jinistar motivation r limit dutoi maintained thakbe. I’m too liberal in this regard which makes me ineligible to comment on “gaming addiction” [Bit ashamed wala smile]. Just keep a check on what role your kid is playing in that game… and of course his eyes shouldn’t get dry :-/

  2. No doubt we have to move with times and being multi tasked is an asset in today’s world.. But still it’s ever the parent’s responsibility to clearly distinguish between the essential and the required and permit their children involve accordingly in the formation and growth years.. This discipline from every parent alone lessens the negative impact of these activities!

  3. Pheww! Babe, I’m already dreading that phase. With Agastya already having mastered Ipad, Iphone, and getting almost there with the Mac, I’m terrified! The hope is that when school starts, he’ll have lesser time to devote to these things 🙂
    But yes, he loves outdoors, and given a choice to frolic out in the open, he’ll do it all day! But I agree, there needs to be a proper balance. Given that theres no choice today, but to be well-versed with everything, its better they try their hands at everything, as long as its within limits.

  4. As you know, I am no expert with new generation kids 😀 But I used to be a video game addict, and I would go for a little bit of it and more of the other activities 🙂

  5. It’s not that video games are bad, but an overwhelming majority of them is violent to the extent of promoting delinquency. Some are even downright criminal —I am sure you don’t want to find out the details. The trouble is, how to channelise one’s kid to creative entertainment, or wean them off if they are hooked to combustible stuff? One may try introducing them to reading or get them to learn a musical keyboard and hope it catches their fancy. It’s hard to predict what will work with a kid. Patient efforts might pay dividends.

    • I agree, the overdose of violence often leads children to the edge of delinquency. I used to play a lot of games at one time, and I consider it as a boon as I can easily find out the pros and cons of any specific game easily and whether it is appropriate for my son or not. And, yes, patience is the keyword when it comes to parenting.

      Thanks a lot for your valuable addition to the post… 🙂

  6. I have a 2-year-old son and I am really scared with this new addiction of young kids. It makes the life of a parent difficult. We need to talk to the kid more and have to tell them the issues or drawback with it. For short duration, it is not bad, but the addiction of anything is bad for your kids.

    • Sorry for the late reply. Somehow Akismet sent your comment to the spam folder. I revived it today while I was on the process of deleting spams.

      You’ve rightly said, our kids need to know everything, but addiction is not to be allowed, in any case.

      Thanks for sharing your opinion…welcome to my blog… 🙂

  7. Like you said, in moderation it’s fine. After all, even we had video games growing up, though not so technologically advanced and certainly not as violent as they have them today. But the addiction is worrying, really.

  8. Quite a worrisome issue.
    FYI my tv has some serious fault and it can’t be repaired… waiting for spare parts you see… may be the computer too will meet the same fate if one gets addicted to it.
    You get what I mean?

  9. Liked your choice of subject and style of writing, Maniparna.

    In my opinion, our children look to us a role models. Its hard to put restrictions on them when they see the dad always glued to his laptop or mom on WhtasApp most of the times….. 🙂

    My son too is addicted to iPad. I tried getting him diverted to Kindle, (which I view as a lesser evil) instead, which has partially succeeded, if not full.

    • Of course, you are right. Though I’m not into WhatsApp but, I have to use the computer a lot for my work nad business. And, our kids are accustomed to these gadgets. Fortunately, my son likes to read books, in this case also, he has followed my you said…Thanks a lot for your thoughts… 🙂

  10. ‘I will kill you now or never!’ :D:D

    The fierce battle cry will warm the heart of any battle hardened, die hard video game buff, but it will send a chill through the spine of any peace loving parent! My 6 years old daughter is such a nut! Fortunately, she’s more into Tom and Angela types and makeover games.

    Video games are a bane, which we are cursed to live with. The reason being, they are evolving faster than we can handle and damned sight too addictive. Not to mention expensive. Ab, problem ye hai, bachhe sunein to na! That 60 minutes in one hour thing is so true!

    I? I can only play solitaire. Unfortunately, it was never upgraded and the only person I may be able to kill during the game is yours truly. And, I think I wouldn’t like it.

    • Haha..I loved playing video games earlier. Have checked it now though for my son’s sake. Parenting is a tough job indeed 😛
      My son mostly plays Mario, FIFA 15 (he loves to play football) and some car racing ones. Problem is video games are naturally addictive, and as you said, they are a bane with which we have to live. You can’t keep children completely away from it, other kids at school play a lot and they have fascinating stories.

      I also play solitaire..I love playing patience too, with real cards (sounds like a retired elderly bloke, I know, but can’t help) 😀 But my all-time favourite bachpan se, is Scrabble.

      • I agree. Scrabble is something I always loved. Beech me Wordfeud ka pagalpan chadha tha. I’m sure you would be knowing this scrabble – like online Android game. But, as usual, I got bored as it didn’t not have the real fun of bashing the board or the other player on head, when losing. 😀

        Guess, I’m not cut out to play any games! I quit!

    • Oh, please do! Mai likhta, but I don’t have many such stories. Mere saath jaldi koi nahi khelta tha as I didn’t have a good vocab then. And always used to fight and cheat when losing. Wo to baad me improve kiya. I still remember that phrase, ‘Aisa koi word nahi hai!’ 😀

      Such childhood reminisces are so beautiful!

      • You do have a GREAT VOCAB now!! Just an enviable one.
        I’m feeling really lazy as winter has set in… 😛 coffee with a piece of cake….that feel heavenly and it takes a lot of courage to come out of the quilt in the morning 😦

      • Winter is my favorite. I can totally relate to that quilt and coffee. Afsos isi baat ka hai ki hafte me bas do hi din naseeb hota hai. Even then, I don’t get it on bed. Apart from that, no one likes coffee except me! Complaints, complaints!

        I never was a morning person anyway! Sometimes I wish that mornings were in afternoon and sunset at 6 am! If wishes were horses…!

  11. Oh how much I love outdoors compared to indoor games! I prefer to even read books outdoors. 🙂 But it should be balanced.
    Nice post.

  12. I have been a gaming freak too…Still love them but not much time. There are constructive games too…like simcity, etc. Although video games can’t replace real sports but motion sensing with sports games is fun…just keep them away from too much violence…Its good for reflexes and brain development.

  13. You’re right, Maniparna, there should be a balance between indoor and outdoor games. Video games too is useful for a proper growth. And addiction of book is also bad.

    Overall, a good article 🙂

  14. Even I grew up playing video games. I used to play out door games with equal enthusiasm. Good old memories! According to me, balance is the key. Nothing should turn too addictive. Parents should be able to teach the kids that.
    Very relevant article:)

  15. This was a well written post with great current terms like helicopter parenting and of course, the “rage” of computer gaming. My son like Atari and would entice me to play Donkey Kong.i twas dun but not a dangerous or hurtful game. While playing outside football or imitating Ninja Turtle (TMNT Is still popular with my grandchildren) he and the boys I babysat would play “rough” and kick. I tried to ignore since there were times my own brothers played at “war” or pirates. 🙂 with your son, you are good at limiting time on games indoors and either switching him to math or science games or send him outdoors. 🙂 I used to teach middle school but there was so much fighting I switched to special ed preschool. 🙂 I am now finishing by working at warehouse to build up my savings. 🙂 Hugs, Robin

    • My son likes to play football, his favourite outdoor game 🙂
      Glad to know about your family activities. Middle school means children are quite grown-ups and sometimes it’s tough to manage. Thanks a lot for your nice comment… 🙂

  16. I know this much tht i wont like restriction put on my play time .. 🙂 rest day is PS3 day and killing all those zombies 🙂 .. hoping for boxing day sales to be good .. os I can buy the new PS4 🙂 yayyyyyyyyyyyy

    But i do feel these days kids play too much of video games instead of going out in the open and getting dirty .. 🙂

  17. I’m not a parent yet, and I do play a lot of games with friends.. It is easy to get addicted to something especially for kids, but as parents I guess you have the choice to expose your child to a wider range of games..

    • Even I play games, too. But as an adult I know where to put a check. For children, addiction is an easy thing and, so we have to put some restrictions up…but, as I said..gaming is not a bad thing…:-)

      Thanks for your valuable inputs… 🙂

      • May be I’ll collect my thoughts and get back.. until the kids know how to form boundaries of the time! I know, addiction is bad, I get into certain games and then I sit, finish all the levels and then I sit to work! 🙂

  18. Addiction of anything is bad, gaming included. Can’t blame the kids as they lack open space for outdoor games and so obviously they are left with games whether on computer or mobiles. It’s easier to suggest for creating a healthy mix than it’s done.
    Gaming does affect also in development of team spirits among the kids. But we, as parents, need to play games sometimes with the kids so that we can teach them some rules of the games and values, which they can understand and relate to.
    Kids also get very much excited if their parents join them in their games. Joining the kinds in their games makes us friendlier and also brings us closer to the new generation.

    • I agree absolutely- addiction is a bad thing. Actually, now the pressure even upon kids is much, every parent wants his ward to be a winner! They are made a part of the rat race from a tender age. Survey says that depression and tension among children are now a common thing. And, as you said, there is lack of open space and most of the times they remain confined at homes. I play with my son, be it a racing car game or Mario…that makes both of us happy 🙂
      Thanks a lot for dropping by… 🙂

  19. Outdoor games any day. There is nothing like going out with friends and playing a sport, but that involves risks of injuring themselves which is where these video games and PS3 comes into action.

    After my major accident playing a sport, my mom advised me to adjust with PC game instead of real game. Just reminded me of that. It was long time back though 🙂

  20. The obscene amount of time I have poured into some computer games…the odd one I have found is an experience, something that provides me with good memories or enchanted me but a lot of them are, in my opinion all about the fast paced action that doesn’t tell a story or push imaginations. I think as a learning tool or something that cerebrally challenges a player can be good but overall I think less is more and a structured and mixed leisure time is much better for children.

    • True that…addiction should be avoided. I also love to play video games, but we adults can check ourselves applying logic and reasoning ( at least in some cases) So, it’s not so harmful for us…for children parents should check on their activities as a whole.
      Thanks for your thoughts… 🙂

  21. Video games are known to improve cognitive abilities no doubt but continuous addiction of kids to video games tends to get on the nerves. The lack of open space for playing is a big contributing factor to the video game addiction. Does putting up a complete restriction ever work? Even a partial restriction doesn’t work. 🙂

    • Right! Putting up a strict restriction makes children wanting more. Common human psychology. An hour or two is okay, I think and, that’s what I permit to my son. Lack of open space is a big factor indeed.
      Thanks for your valuable thoughts, Somali… 🙂

  22. To my concern, gaming when kept under control is never a bad thing. Getting addicted to a certain thing is purely because of the parent, they should allow them to play outdoor games. One who started enjoying the outdoor experience will never come back to gaming again.

    • As I said, a wholesome development is possible only when kids are allowed to do different things. Gaming is never bad, I also think so, when are played under proper supervision. Thanks, Gowthama, for your valuable inputs… 🙂

  23. I’ve 7 kids and all of them are into video games as well. Be it Nintendo or PlayStation, or PC games, but I draw a line between the digital world of theirs and the reality. I set up a time that starting on Friday late afternoon, that is when all of them do their school work properly & correct and also to study/learn maximum 2 hours per-day the least, then they are allow to play anything. But only the weekends – not more. Even on holidays I hold on to the time schedule as usual with them, which mean from Mon-Thurs there are no handy nor pc, etc.

    And also if one of them have a bad note at school, they know it that I will take away all of those things for a month the least until they proof they are serious about school and my kids knew me too well that the cannot manipulate or trick me on this! LOL

    • Haha…I remember my mom treating me in the same way…a bad performance in any weekly test and she used to put a ban on watching television for 7 days 😀 Computer games was not so common at that time. I think you are treating your kids nicely, Sherrie, you are a very loving mother, that is very much reflected in your many of your posts 🙂
      Thanks a lot for sharing your opinion…:-) Happy parenting… 🙂

    Please read my post written in 2011 on the same subject when time permits…of course even that post may have become obsolete now …me being a much older mother are..

  25. I am a parent and my kids really never got into video games much but I do think limits need to be set.

    Video games do have some positive benefits for sure but nothing beats actually doing something other than sitting.

    Good post 🙂

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