Choosing Games Carefully for Your Child?
The effects of violent video games have been widely researched and
reported in the media as children spend increased amounts of time
playing video games.
In recent years video games have become more
and more realistic, with players often taking on the role of the
aggressor or attacker. Games like Grand Theft Auto, Doom, and Mortal
Combat show humiliation of women, violent attacks and even death.
Reality vs Video Gaming
Real violence has negative consequences, someone gets hurt, and children have to consider the moral implications of their actions.
complete contrast playing violent video games has ‘positive
consequences’ for the player- players gain more points, ‘hero’ status
and bragging rights to their friends.
It has been suggested that
by getting all this aggression out in ‘video games’ that children and
teens will actually be less agressive in their social environment.
Writing in the International Journal of Liability and Scientific Enquiry,
Patrick Kierkegaard of the University of Essex, England suggests,
“violent crime, particularly among the young, has decreased dramatically
since the early 1990s, while video games have steadily increased in
popularity and use.”
This may or may not be true, many studies and
statistics based on video game violence will contradict it. What
studies (with positive or negative results) have failed to measure is
the individual differences between households.
- Did the child show prior signs of aggressive behaviour?
- Was and is there violence in the home?
- Are the children monitored in the time spent and content viewed on the internet?
All of these factors will influence the impact of playing video games with violent content.
The Role Of Parents
do show that excessive playing of video games (whether they are violent
or not) has a negative impact on school grades, thus some parental
monitoring and positive input is required.
- Have your children play video games in a ‘common area’
of your house. This provides the opportunity for playing the game with
your child, discussing any inappropriate or disturbing content, and open lines of communication regarding their play.
- Set limits on the time spent
online or playing video games – use your oven timer or set an alarm. In
our house if kids want to play games online they need to turn off the
game once time is up. An extra 5 minutes easliy turns into an hour if
YOU are busy doing other chores around the home.
- Video games can be great teachers,
there are so many video games available it is a parent’s role to try to
maximize their benefits while minimizing potential harms. There
are ratings on video games, and children are not permitted to buy games
with an M (Mature 15+) or AO (Adults Only) rating.There are 3 levels of
childrens ratings, as well as one for teens –
EC- Early Childhood, for ages 3 and up. Suitable for all children.
E- Everyone, for ages 6 and up. These games may contain some mild language and/or comic mischief.
E10+- Everyone 10 and older. These games can contain fantasy or mild violence, and mild language.
T- Teen, for ages 13 and up. Can contain mild or strong language and violent content, and/or suggestive themes.
- Just like tv or movie viewing, know your own child.
Some children are more upset by mild violence than others, so screen
their viewing accordingly.As well as reading the rating of the game,
read the description so that you know exactly what the game entails. You
can often hire games before buying them, so that you know what you are getting.
There are so many great games available that are not violent and provide great learning opportunities for kids.
As parents we are simply there provide the encouragement for children
to view/play suitable media and also plenty of opportunities for
imaginative play away from the tv and video games.