Video Games and Your Kids – A Book Review

Like many parents, I am concerned about my kids spending too much time in front of a screen, whether that be television, computer, or video games. One reason for this is because I have seen how screen time interferes with other more important activities like reading, spending time with family, helping around the house, etc. It seems that boys in particular have a hard time accepting limits around gaming. Since I have two sons, I did not want any part of the constant fighting over the video game system between themselves and refusing to accept boundaries and limits that I see in other families. I’ve also observed kids missing sleep and even social interaction with peers because of spending too much in an artificial world, with detrimental effects.

Video Games and Your Kids gathers research, science and data about why parents should be concerned about video games. Rather than being the greatest invention since the baby wipe, video games are not always just harmless fun.

For one, video games are highly addictive. In fact they are designed to be so – marketers call it the “sticky factor”. The longer the child plays, the better in their estimation.

Secondly, video games have negative effects on the body and the brain – not only do video games contribute to a sedentary lifestyle but they also retrain the brain and the way it thinks. This has deleterious effects on how a child learns and their ability to learn outside the game. Parents sometimes believe that video and computer games are “educational” but the evidence does not support that assessment. Video games can also lead to a reduced attention span and reduced ability to deal appropriately in social situations. Video games can also lead to eye and vision problems, headaches, sleeping difficulties, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Kids who spend a lot of time gaming even develop poor posture.

Interestingly, the authors aren’t totally opposed to video games but remind parents that they must be very careful about their use. This book is helpful to a parent as it gives us research to back up those gut feelings we have. Allowing a child to have unrestricted access to video games is a bad thing. It also gives you some pointers from these experts on how to spot video game addiction and how to get help for your child – and even yourself or a spouse if you are the ones with a problem.