6 Positive and Negative Effects of Online Gaming on Your Children
The video gaming industry is expected to attain surpass US$138 billion in revenues by 2021, and it is only going to go even farther up from there. That said, there seems to be no stopping the growth of this industry.
As parents, you must have already seen that in the confines of your own homes too. Afterall, 97% of kids seem to be snugged up with one game or the other these days.
That brings us to the topic for the day.
While these games may be bad for your kids – and for more reasons than one – they could be totally great too. Here are a couple of reasons to support both arguments.
Why Online Gaming is Great for Your Kids
Before pulling the plug on your kid’s online gaming sessions, make sure you keep these advantages at the back of your mind.
Improved Hand-Eye Coordination
If you closely observe your kid when they are playing video games, you would see that they have their eyes glued to the screen while controlling the action with their gamepad. Look closer and you’ll observe that they can make some split-second decisions without having to look back at the gaming pad at all.
That is what hand-eye coordination entails.
When playing games, the player has a lot to process at the same time. They need to take into account various factors such as direction, location, speed, aim, direction and so much more. The list can get much longer depending on the kind of game involved.
Interestingly, the brain has to take all these in at once, process it then send signals to the hands so as to enable the player stay in the game. Over time, your kid develops one of the best hand-eye coordination from their pastime activities.
Following from above, thinking under pressure and making faster decisions is not left out of what your kid gains from their online gaming sessions. Likewise, your kid develops a keen sense of attention to details which will help them make important choices and decisions as the game goes on.
You might now know this, but games have been found to improve moods too. Researchers have tagged this an emotional benefit of games.
In the same vein, it cannot be argued that some games have not shown up over the years which cause more depression than they bring happiness. If we were to get the ratio of the good ones to the bad eggs though, the results are alarming – in favor of the positives, that is.
Thankfully, most games today are in multilayer mode. What that means is not just that a handful of people have to come together to pay such a game, but that they have to be in agreement.
This could help your kid learn how to work with others in the achievement of a common goal. They will also be conditioned to put asides their own personal styles and strategies if they are to ensure success of the laid-out plan.
Most times, there is no better way to teach a kid the benefit of teamwork than this.
Why You Might Need to Unplug the Cord
Now that you know why you should probably allow your kids access to that online video game they so love, there are some hidden dangers posing too high a risk to be ignored.
Some of such are:
Exposure to violent content on the internet leads to the desire to try such violence out. When it comes to the case of passively involving oneself in the said violence, like gaming provides for, the risk of getting violent in these ways suddenly increases even more.
The biggest issue with kids exposed to violent video games is that they see a lot of problems being solved with violence. That could easily send them the wrong information, prompting such a kid to address their problems that same way.
With tons of papers (hundreds, even) having been published in relation to video games and violence, serious care must be taken to curb such before it becomes an issue at all.
One of the biggest issues with online games is the false sense of community that it could create for a growing kid. While many of these games are in multiplayer mode and can surely allow them make friends online, these are not true friends.
This problem becomes even more serious when such a kid starts withdrawing from social scenes just to be with their online friends instead.
A lot of online gaming services have chat rooms for their players to lounge after the games. Some of them even allow for in-game chats to keep the action interesting. Like any other measure intended for good, though, this can quickly be converted to perpetrate cyberbullying in many ways than one.
Sometimes, mean messages might be directed at opponents with the intention of intimidation. At other times, these messages will be specifically directed to discredit an opponent, throw them off their game, spite them after a win, taunt them after a loss and so much more.
All these can get too much for a kid, and they will be better off without the chance at all.
Poor academic performance
A recent study found out that up to 47% of heavy online video gamers did very poorly in their academics. This does not mean the light gamers are any better though as only 23% of them were better than those in the heavy gamers group.
While these figures show that not all kids are negatively affected by online gaming, you have to make sure your kid doesn’t fall on the wrong end of statistics.
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