Every day, it seems like there are more and more tragic tales involving children (and adults) committing violent acts that have been the result of consuming violent media. As Dr. S discussed in a recent essay, parents need to understand that media consumption is a powerful part of their children’s environment, and that they must and can control better.
An easy step for parents to take is to actively monitor the kind of media their children are consuming. Just as violent and inappropriate TV shows and movies should be avoided, so, too, should violent and inappropriate video games. But parents should not ban all video games from their children. The Institute for the Future recently released a study (“Innovations in Games: Better Health and Healthcare”) that explored the relationship between health and video games. As the study states, by making it easier for people to engage with difficult health challenges and information, gaming has already shown promise in treating conditions from Parkinson’s Disease to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. They are also exploring the role video games can play in encouraging and instilling qualities and concepts, like motivation to overcome challenges and achieving goals and using games to promote behavior change.
So, the task for parents to then undertake is being proactive in deciding what games are or are not appropriate for their children.
Educational and fun video games do exist, so parents should go out of their way to find them and introduce them to their children. A great PC game resource for parents is Institute for the Future study participant Playnormous — a site dedicated to creating fun and kid-friendly health-based games.
Have you begun monitoring the video games your children are playing? What are some games or game systems that are kidsafe that you and your kids love? Share them with us!
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