Video Games and Kids

Posted by on December 19, 2013

My friend asked me the other day whether or not she should get her 12 year old son a PS4. Her son had gotten it in his head that the only gift for Christmas that would suffice would be a PS4. Anything less would be an affront to his year long good behavior and the world would be soooooo unfair (he has a tendency for hyperbole). Since I recently had this debate with my husband in regards to our 8 year old, I decided to share my thought processes into the decision.

Moderation is Key

The bottom line  is this…I want my son outdoors. This was the major factor into the PS4 purchase; the concern that he was going to spend a beautiful, sunny day inside in a dark room gaming. I believe that playing outdoors leads to all kinds of benefits and adventures that kids (and adults) just won’t get sitting indoors.

Well, according to a recent study by the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Charité University Medicine in Berlin, playing video games can stimulate the growth of new neurons and improve motor skills. Still, I want my child to keep spending time outside, so a simple time limit on the PS4 is enforced.

They Won’t Necessarily Poison the Mind

This was my other concern. While I played all the classic video games on an Atari 2600 when I was a kid, I don’t know all that much about them these days other than what I hear on the news and online and it’s usually not positive. I do know, however, that I have as much control over what game my kid plays as I want.

There’s a rating system, much like the movies, that groups video games according to age groups. So even without knowing what the title is about, if there is an M on it (for mature), it’s highly unlikely that I’m allowing my son to play it. The key is to make sure what you’re kids are playing is appropriate for their age.

In any case, as much as I have imparted all this advice to my friend, it’s a decision she has to make for her own family and when this sort of predicament comes up for your family, and it very well may, I hope this helps you make more of an informed decision. Just remember that as a parent, you have all the control—you just have to exercise it.


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