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Video Games: How Much is Too Much?

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 21 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Video Games Computer Games Hand Held

Modern parents must find balance in so many areas - only one of which is controlling the amount of time that their children spend playing video games. Studies show that kids spend more time on the computer than ever before and much of that time spent game playing. If you add that to the time playing game systems and hand held video games, today's children are definitely techno savvy. The question is - where do you draw the line? When it comes to video games, how much is too much?

Exercising Their Minds

One of the biggest concerns about children's fascination with video games is the sedentary nature of the entertainment. A generation ago, children played outside - running, swimming and riding their bikes to keep them occupied. Today's kids are undoubtedly less physically active than their parents were, so care must be taken not to allow them to use video games as their main source of amusement.

If a balance is met, however, between physical activity and video games, many experts feel that allowing children to play on the computer can be beneficial to them. By choosing high quality games, children can learn a lot. From games that are clearly designed to be educational to those that help children with logic and problem solving skills, a good video game can help to exercise a child's mind.

Preschool Kids

Computer games can help pre-readers to enjoy stories, using interesting sounds and animation to make the tales come alive. Many games also help young children to learn about colours, sorting, patterns, letters, and shapes. Preschool children often take great pleasure in drawing on the computer, creating works of art that they can print once they've perfected their artwork.

Parents of preschoolers can enjoy the fact that the computer will read, again and again, some of their child's favourite stories to them. Although nothing can replace the time spent snuggling up with your child and reading a story, having a little help is appreciated by exhausted parents everywhere!

Ages 6-9

Grade school aged children tend to favour games that require repetitive attempts to reach a goal, which helps to hone their memory and logic, both vital for learning. In many of these games, attaining higher levels comes from not only repeating certain steps in order, but also from finding ways around obstacles. Children who are creative problem solvers can take those skills into every aspect of their learning process.

Preteens

As kids mature and their understanding of the world around them expands, they are able to enjoy more complex and detailed games. Often, games geared toward preteens require that they use real world skills. Games such as those in the Sims series offer kids opportunities to look at their games as mini versions of real life problems and give them the chance to work out solutions. Additionally, some video games strive to bring art, geography, and history to life, engaging children's imaginations.

So How Much Is Too Much?

Video games can be a part of a well balanced life, but if playing them begins to interfere with the enjoyment of other things, then it is time to set some limits. Kids, like the rest of us, need a little work and a little play, some indoor time and some time to romp in the sunshine. Each parent must decide what works best for their family, but in moderation, video games can offer children more than just entertainment.

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