That was my reaction when I saw an article that said video games aren’t a destructive influence on kids, as some people (including me) believe.
“Parents, stop fearing video games,” the headline read.
The article on Parents.com quoted Scott Steinberg, a technology analyst and author.
“Mounting research shows that gaming can have tremendous mental and physical benefits for children,” he said. “Interactive options encourage learning, experimentation and problem-solving.”
In an ABC News article, Steinberg offered additional reasons why video games can have a positive influence on kids.
He said they can improve early literacy skills, teach kids to multitask and prepare them for a technology-related career.
“Skills learned and honed playing home console and video games, as well as mobile gaming apps, will undoubtedly be very valuable to students in the workforce of 2025,” said Steinberg, author of The Modern Parent’s Guide to Kids and Video Games.
Am I sold on his defense of video games? No.
My experience is that Connor becomes zombie-like when focused on playing video games. I can hardly get his attention. He doesn’t want to play outside or even stop for a meal. Connor becomes too focused on the virtual world instead of the real world.
Some experts also warn about the dangers of video games
An article in Pediatrics magazine says the games can lead to depression, anxiety, social phobia and academic troubles.
“It’s not just how much time is spent playing video games,” says Douglas Gentile, an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University. “It is doing it in such a way that damages your ability in many other areas, including social function, occupational function, relationships and school performance.”
Kids who become addicted to video games “have trouble fitting in with other kids and are more impulsive than children who aren’t addicted,” according to an article on USNews.com.
Video game critics urge parents to limit their child’s time playing video games. I’ve been doing this for years with Connor.
He may get excited by the action on the screen, but I get excited when I see him reading a book or playing outside. I don’t think parents should ban video games entirely. Kids should be allowed some recreational activities that they enjoy.
But you probably wouldn’t let your child sit in front of the TV for hours and hours. Nor should you let him or her have unrestricted access to video games.
Parenting is largely about setting boundaries for kids. With video games, children need some limits. The games can be violent, and they distract kids from pursuing activities that involve exercise and interaction with others.