Without doing my due diligence I would immediately say “no” video games are not good for children. They can be violent, expose our children to dangers online, and be addictive.
Video games, much like other activities involving a screen (i.e. TV) can decrease sleep quality, as well as cause depression. However, to my surprise video games have some benefits for children. Select video games can improve hand-eye coordination and problem solving skills. Video games, especially those with an online component can also help your child socialize and even learn teamwork skills. Some video games have even been shown to boost reading skills slightly. Games, such as virtual reality and Wii games can also get kids up and moving. While these games cannot replace exercise or playing outside, they can improve sedentary tendencies.
The best policies when it comes to video games are moderation and supervision. Remember like other activities than involve screens, video games can be addictive because of the chemicals released in the brain when playing. So, set limits on any and all activities that involve screen time and make sure they do not interfere with sleep time, school work, or household chores. Also, remember to do your research on video games before purchasing or letting your child play them.
The best video games are ones that promote imaginative play, creativity, and problem-solving. It is important to note that most video games are labeled, demonstrating for what age they are appropriate. The labels include: EC (early childhood), E (everyone), E 10+ (everyone 10+), T (teen), M (mature, 17+ years), and A (adult). So, make sure any video game is appropriate for your child depending upon their age. It is also recommended to have gaming consoles in the family room, living room or any other common area in your house so you can catch any content that might be inappropriate for your child. When monitored, video games can be a great resource for your children.
Video games can even provide time together with your child. Don’t forget that it is best to eliminate screen and device use one hour before bed to help promote better sleep and there is nothing like ending the day with a Storybook massage with your child. Storybook is a screen-less app that will allow you more time to connect with your child and help them to fall asleep faster and sleep deeper. Try it today!