Video games are a huge industry in the United States that are part of the majority of childrens’ lives. Although some say that men tend to play video games more than women, that doesn’t change the reality that a lot of children play them. However, as entertaining as these games are, these games often promote things such as killing humans or animals, criminal behavior, foul language, and much more. The real question then becomes whether or not children should be introduced to video games, and if they are, at what age should violent ones become acceptable?
The idea behind what age children can play video games is different per video game, as they all have ratings done by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), helping decide if they are appropriate for a certain age group. However, showing violent video games to children younger than the recommendation is given by the ESRB can result in some consequences.
According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, “Studies of children exposed to violent media have shown that they may become numb to violence, imitate the violence, and show more aggressive behavior. Younger children and those with emotional, behavioral or learning problems may be more influenced by violent images.”
However, there are some other issues with playing excessive video games that can be concerning. Some children might tend to stop socializing and spend all their time playing video games. They might also start getting lower grades, less exercise, gain weight and have less sleep; all due to the excessive time being spent on the game. Keeping this in mind, there are some good sides to playing video games, and they should not be wiped out completely; just kept to moderate use, and with age-appropriate restrictions.
Some of the good sides of introducing video games are that some games actually end up helping eye-hand coordination and improving problem-solving skills at a very early age. Most video games have some sort of scheme or plot that the player is trying to get around. In order to get around it, they need to put their critical thinking skills to use. Like almost all video games, there should be some moderation to playing these games.
Some good moderation techniques that parents can use might be to avoid serious video games in preschool so that the children aren’t introduced to violence at a young age which can affect their development. Parents should also always be checking the ESRB recommendations for age-appropriate games for their kids, while also setting clear rules about how much time will be spent playing. They should also enforce that video games are only played after the child is finished with their homework and chores. Setting clear boundaries with children on video games can be really helpful to avoid any aggressive behavior or lack of social skills.