Kids and video games
When I teach the Babysitting CPR class that I’ve taught to youth age 11+ for over 15 years, I always urge students to spend *quality time* with the children, which brings up the issue of kids and video games.
There are surprising statistics on how little one-to-one time kids might spend with their parents who are rushing about to jobs, commitments, appointments, household and life errands, etc. Life’s pace can be so fast that kids can get only short face-to-face time with their parents. Perhaps 20 minutes per day? So, I always counsel students to engage in conversation, ask questions about school and friends, get them talking about their favorite fun, favorite ice cream, favorite animal – and AVOID television and video games.
Compared to being talked to or read to, television is a waste of time and a brain drain for children, I believe. Watching TV, they never use their imagination the way they do when being told or read a story. But when their imagination envisions in a story the characters, what the characters are doing and saying, how they feel, the suspense in the plot, the child’s brain is active and developing
I’ve also always thought that kids and video games are a poor match. I’ve thought that the games are detrimental to a healthy child. After all, Seriously? You make points for Murdering? Rewarded for Violence?
SO…I decided to learn more about video games!
Kids and video games – there are some good games?
I’ve learned so much more about kids and video games – and some positive benefits. It’s all about the premise of the game they’re playing. If the game is one of quality, it encourages the development of quite a list of positive skills. If it’s just violence, it’s trash.
Positive Effects of Kids and Video Games
- Problem solving
- Hand-eye coordination
- Motor and spatial skills
- Making fast analysis and decisions
- Immediate issues while keeping long term goals in mind
- Reading and math skill development
- Responding to frustrations and risks
- Teamwork and cooperation when playing with others – Especially playing with parents!
Having fun is the best way to learn
I believe having fun is the best way to learn. It’s why I make my Babysitting CPR classes lively and with warm humor. I tell example stories of smart safety things babysitters have done, funny stories about what a little child said to her babysitter, etc. Humor in class escalates retention, a major point of any training.
As a child plays a quality video game and does well with the challenges and problems and creativity, they experience the wonderful feelings of warm self-confidence, self-esteem, pride and satisfaction with success. Good things!
It certainly seems to be all about a parental decision of WHAT games to allow their child to play. And also that only ONE HOUR per day is the solid mandate asserted by researchers.
Negative effects of kids and video games
If a youth plays violent games, their behavior can become aggressive, their values skewed by being “rewarded” for violence. They can also become addicted to the game and thus avoid doing their homework and even stay awake all hours of the night playing the game – and ensuring fatigue and failure the next day at school.
As a strong advocate for woman and girls – and passionate about ending the worldwide abuse of women and girls – I find it horrifying how video games so often portray female characters as weak, helpless, sexually provocative or victims. That doesn’t fly with me AT ALL. I’m passionate about the awesome girls’ website called A Mighty Girl. http://www.amightygirl.com/
This website offers a huge amount of excellent support for girls, empowerment for girls, and humor and fun. Here are some video games recommended for girls from A Mighty Girl.
As a horse woman, I love horses with all my heart. In fact, loving horses is very common for most girls! So many young girls long to have a horse…
Why not buy her one? There is a video game offered on A Mighty Girl site called Planet Horse. The game player rides a horse all around the countryside, jumping fences, experiencing cross country challenges. What fun – let your daughter ride a horse on Planet Horse!
What ARE the positive games available out there?
Sim City – the player builds a city and has to complete urban planning
Farming Simulator – the player performs the role of a farmer growing crops and livestock
Cut the Rope – the player uses physics to solve puzzles
Super Mario 64 – the player Mario explores a castle to rescue Princess Peach.
I’ve learned that there ARE some good video games and they CAN be beneficial to children – but ONLY AN HOUR A DAY is what is recommended.
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Jean Lesmeister, 15 year Babysitting CPR, Adult CPR & First Aid Instructor
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