Gaming During The Holiday Season

SO we are once again going through a Holiday season with family and friends.  What does this usually mean?  Video games!!  They can be a great family present or also a gift for someone else who enjoys gaming.  During the holiday season it is very easy to become swept up in the moment and buy games that look fun and enjoyable.  The issue is most people have a difficult time choosing what may be the right platform, gaming console, or game for the person in mind.

WAIT A MINUTE – ARENT VIDEO GAMES BAD FOR PEOPLE?

One could really say this about anything in the world, too much of one thing really isn’t that great for anyone.  However, there is no clear research that show harm from playing video games nor too much showing that there are substantial benefits.  What I mean by this is while we have articles stating one side’s case or the other, they all can be easily dismissed for methodological flaws and biases from the individuals themselves conducting the study.

For instance, let us take the current article that just came out linked for download here:

Do television and electronic games predict children’s
psychosocial adjustment? Longitudinal research
using the UK Millennium Cohort Study

A  lot of people have been talking about how this shows that video games are not bad for anyone especially children at this point.  While I am a fan of articles that show the positive impact of video games on individuals and this one can contribute to the domain; it does not get the job done fully.  What the study does show is depending on family dynamics and characteristics such as family functioning, parenting styles, and child dynamics, that they have a larger impact on whether the child will be have some conduct problems.  The fact of the matter is, this has always been true with the difficulties we have faced of parenting children.  They can be difficult at times and times have changed where many of the old ways of parenting are no longer an option.  Should we blame parents or video games?  Probably not since we can all say we have different ways of handling the situation depending on variable factors at the moment.  What this study does show is there is a slight increase in child’s conduct problems for watching 3+ hours of television a day (mild at best = .15).  Does it say that TV or Video Games are good or not good?  Nope, again you the consumer have to be able to use your own intellect in order to make the right decision for YOURSELF.  I know it is hard to think for yourself at points, but we all have try at some point right?

Here is another link to the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s website showing the different categories of ratings for the games.  Much research has shown that this rating system is even more stringent than the one we use for movies currently.  That is a fact.  So next time take a look at what you are buying, some of the games are not suitable for younger children and should be scrutinized more carefully.

All in all, choose a game or a gaming system that will be able to bring people (e.g. your family) together for increased family time.  More and more research has been coming out stating this is a large factor in family cohesiveness and attachment to the parental figures.  Use it to your benefit and work with your family members to see what can be done to include gaming into the social sphere of families.  This is not rocket science people.

Video games allow a deeper story line or story telling to happen and can be quite beneficial for parents to play with their children to talk about difficult topics such as sex, partying, and other difficult conversations.  A lot of families have difficulty with these topics and do not know how to approach them.  Many video games offer rich stories that the family can immerse themselves with and work together.  Work with your family to build in family time and play with your children or friends, but don’t forget to know what games are being played by checking in with your kids about the games they play.

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