The Pros and Cons of Video Games

The computer (software, CD-ROMs, Internet, tablets, smart phones) offers games specially designed for children. There are also video game consoles (Wii, Xbox, PlayStation, Game Boy, DS) that, very early, captivate the child. Are these various games to be banned or does it mean, on the contrary, to make children aware of this virtual world?

According to the Canadian Sedentary Behavior Guidelines for Early Childhood, children 2 to 4 years of age should not exceed 1 hour of passive activity per day and 5 years and over, no more than 2 hours, any type of confused screen. That is to say that we must consider together the hours spent watching television, playing the computer, etc. Children under 2 should not be exposed to television or computer.

The for

  • The computer  : While playing the computer, the child learns to use a mouse, to move the cursor on the screen, and discovers the basics of the computer. According to the software, the child can learn the concept of cause and effect: by pressing a key or clicking the mouse, it produces an action on the screen. Some games allow him to discover basic concepts such as colors, magnitudes, shapes. He must then be attentive and observe well. This type of game is interactive, since the computer reacts to the action of the child. He tells him, for example, if he could find the biggest flower on the screen. When used in moderation and under supervision, the computer can be an interesting game and learning tool for the child.
  • Video games  : Video games are played with a controller that the child must learn to control online gaming website This controller requires a bilateral activity, using different actions of both hands that take advantage of the coordination. Its manipulation is therefore more complex than the movement of the mouse. The majority of video games stimulate attention, motivation, concentration, memory, problem solving, visual recognition of characters and objects, speed, early logic and good eye-hand coordination. the patient of the child is also put to the test, since failure is frequent and the child must often repeat the same level. In addition, these games can also promote exchanges with other children who share the same passion, discussing between them the pleasure of this or that game, giving each other some tricks to cross obstacles. Some games would encourage children to have a certain amount of interactivity and at times encourage the desire to practice sports activities.

online games

  • The tablet  : According to some experts, the tablet would be an interesting learning tool thanks to its interactivity, if its use is supervised by parents. The tablet can introduce them to numbers and reading while awakening and exercising their visual attention ability. It would diversify the sources of stimulation.
If you do not have a computer, do not worry: children who arrive at kindergarten without experience in the computer world easily catch up with those who knew him at home.

Against the

  • No universal standard guarantees the quality of these games. It is useful to try them or ask for information before buying them. What is the game? What is the child asked? Are there different levels of difficulty that are appropriate for the age of the child? How long is a game? In North America, the Entertainment Software Rating Board offers a ranking of video games and apps by the age at which they are appropriate. To help you make a choice from the variety of educational content designed for tablets, check out EduLulu.
  • Video game consoles, computer games or tablets can not replace traditional toys. A survey of 10 countries found that children aged 2 to 5 had more virtual skills than motor skills. For example, 66% can play simple computer games while only 58% know how to pedal on a bicycle.
  • Excessive exposure to screens contributes to the sedentary lifestyle of children. Screen games are practiced at the expense of sports activities and free play outside. Young people who spend more than two hours a day in front of a screen play 30 minutes less outdoors than other children. This helps to increase the risk of overweight and obesity. In addition, children who have a TV in their room are more likely to gain weight than other children. According to some experts, even so-called active video games can not be used to help children do more physical activity. They may, however, transform sedentary behavior into light to moderate physical activity.
  • Some experts believe that excessive use of tablets and smartphones weakens eye muscles, leads to fatigue and headaches. Poor posture at the time of use could also cause musculoskeletal problems.
  • Staying in front of a computer screen is a relatively passive activity. But the young child (and the older child too) needs to touch, manipulate, move, talk, be creative, play with real objects and real people. In addition, a young child may have trouble understanding what to do on the computer. The presence of a parent at his side is necessary to enable him to get the most out of it. This is not a real disadvantage if the activity becomes a shared game with the parent, but it will be if the parent wants to occupy the child at the computer while he is doing something else.
Most video games are not suitable for a toddler. Better to play computer games and play with it.
  • A young child does not have the maturity to play a video game. He does not have the skills to really understand the rules of a video game and play it effectively. In addition, the values ​​conveyed by these games are, in general, speed, competition, sometimes compassion, generosity, but also, very often, violence. However, violent images, present in these games, can create anxiety for the smallest, because they are not yet able to take enough distance from the fiction.
  • At school age, some children, especially boys, may become addicted to video games, unable to do without them. When they play, they do not hear anything about them; they are cut off from the real world. To avoid this situation, it is better to set specific rules of use as soon as the child starts to play this type of games.

Not bad, but …

The virtual world brings a lot of stimulation to the child, but it can not bring him the same wealth of experiences as the real world.

These games are an activity among all others and should never become the dominant activity of your child’s day.

Without preventing your child from playing it, it is wise to carefully select what you put in his hands and control its use. Limiting and supervising the use of these games avoids the isolation of the child and his passivity in front of a screen. These games represent an activity among all others; they should never become the dominant activity of your child’s day.

If the child is given good habits, it will be easier to keep them at school age, when interest is increasing, especially for video games.