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Gaming & Health: Gaming for Children

February 12, 2023

Raising a child—a milestone in any parent’s life! You want your kids to be prepared for the real world and part of that preparation is nurturing their education and skills. I’m guessing you are also concerned about their health and safety, especially when it comes to online gaming. All parents are faced with a love/hate relationship when it comes to their children’s video games habits. However, healthy gaming habits can be taught to prevent problems.

Playing games can have both negative and positive effects on children. Although we often hear about violent video games that produce aggressive behavior in kids, there is also research indicating that video game play develops perceptual skills in young people.

Video Games: Clearly Not the Worst Thing in The World

Online gaming can actually be good for kids, According to Science. Some studies have shown that video games can help children develop important skills. According to Dr Douglas Gentile—a psychology professor who has researched the effects of video games on children’s development —video game play likely enhances problem-solving skills and visual attention skills. “The player needs to constantly be scanning the full screen because an enemy could pop out from anywhere, so the player needs to be able to detect small changes in color or texture in the periphery and react quickly. This seems similar to the type of skill an air traffic controller needs,” said Douglas Gentile, a professor of psychology.

Researchers proved that video games can improve cognitive development in children

Video Games Create Psychopaths?

I bet that most of you have heard people say, “Online games are bad for children.” But the truth is that whenever a teenager does something bad, they always link it back to video games. In fact, some studies showed that the content of teenage games can affect a teenager’s behavior. If the game is too aggressive and violent, it will likely lead to aggressive emotions in teenagers or children.

Both positions are correct, as it is a matter of perspective: what matters most in determining whether gaming is harmful or beneficial to your child depends on the habits they develop while playing.

How To Encourage Healthy Gaming Habits?

Raising Children, one of the most authoritative parenting websites, lists some healthy gaming habits from experts, they suggested that, as your child gets older, you can encourage them to take greater responsibility for managing their gaming choices. You can do this by talking with them about issues like:

When to play- Explain that there are certain times when it is better to play games (for example, not before going to bed).

When to have breaks – For example, suggest that your child stand up and stretch when they’ve been sitting still for a while.

How to manage notifications – For instance, you can encourage your child to turn off notifications so that they don’t feel pressured to return to the game.

Other habits we think are important: for children to learn how to set priorities—if he has study duties, for example, then those should be done first. It’s also crucial that kids never skip meals because they’re playing or not sleep enough at night as a result of screen time.

Monitoring the amount of time your child spends looking at a screen is another important thing to do as a parent. Thanks to technology, you can easily know how much time he spent on the computer using apps. Here are some of the apps we found to monitor and limit screen time on iPhone and Android.

Is Minecraft Helpful in Developing a Child’s Creative Skills?

At Showdown, we provide a safe environment for players of all ages and encourage responsible gaming. We interviewed a mother from our community who shared her views on how she thinks gaming affects children.

Part of Showdown’s vision and mission is to host tournaments with rules and supervision to ensure a safe space for all players

She said: “My son, who’s 6 years old now, used to impress me so much when he was 5. He would tell me things like ‘Mom can you please type on YouTube how to build a Minecraft house?’ Then he’d watch the video and try building it himself! I knew he had potential.”

We asked: Did you worry that gaming would have a negative effect on him?

“I grew up knowing that gaming has a really bad impact on children, but I wanted to learn about the impact of gaming on my child—excluding rumors”, she said.

We asked: what impacts did you see in your child as a result of his video game playing?

“In my experience, video games had both positive and negative effects on my son. The negatives were that he found the gaming world more exciting than his toys or even studying at times. However, I tried to solve the problem by making toy playing more interesting. First, I searched for toys that were hard and competitive—and then looked for schools with a modern approach towards education: one in which students are engaged in creative activities rather than being passive vessels into which knowledge is poured like so much water into an empty bucket”, she said.

“Other negative aspects of gaming included his tendency to cry and get frustrated when he loses—but I say this is normal like he will express such emotions in real life as well. And it’s an opportunity for him to understand that losing happens in real life and how to deal with it appropriately”, she added.

She added that gaming has some positive aspects and what we liked best was this:

“I kept teaching him healthy gaming habits and spending so much of my time on it because I saw that playing games had improved his creativity, and made him want to learn more. It’s great seeing your child passionate about something and taking responsibility for learning it all by himself”, she said.

After we heard her interview, we researched the creativity that can be enhanced in children who play games like Minecraft and found Dr. Douglas’s quote: “It’s not just that Minecraft can help induce creativity; there seems to be something about choosing to do it as well”, said Douglas Gentile, a professor of psychology. With that being said, if your child is willing to learn how games work and play them on his own, he’ll develop better creative skills.

Showdown’s mission and vision

Showdown can help educate parents and authorities about video games and esports in general; if you’ve noticed your child has a passion for gaming, you might want to become involved in our community. Here we can prepare players for tournaments and other events by training them according to their skill level. In a potential future, they will be able to earn a living from playing games.