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|Many parents call me with concern that their child is spending way too much time playing video games; whether it be Call of Duty, Minecraft, Fortnite or whatever the rage is at the moment.
If you find your child is playing excessively and it’s affecting their responsibilities, social life and/or school work, then I definitely recommend creating some time limits to ensure your child is engaging in the world.
However, I would never suggest video games are bad at all. In fact, I find that video games are quite the opposite and can help your child tremendously, especially if your child is experiencing stress, anxiety or is going through a difficult time. And yes, most parents are shocked when I say this but let me offer you another perspective so you have a better understanding on how video games may be helping your child.
As a parent, you may have a hard time relating to video games since your generation grew up very differently. For you, it was common to play outside with friends or just play with rocks (joke!). It took little to entertain yourself as a kid and as a result you felt you were more engaged in the world. And you are correct, you probably were. But, that’s NOT the same world your kids are living in today. And that’s a very good thing.
Today’s world is about technology and progression. Children are living proof of these advancements; as they know how to navigate an IPHONE or IPAD before even learning to walk or talk. It’s as if kids of this new generation were born ready and willing to embrace all of what technology has to offer. Very different in comparison to our generation of the Rubik’s cube, Lite Brite and if you were more advanced, you had Atari (another joke!).
This is in addition to all the social media stuff (Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc.) as well as the constant noise in your child’s mind from social pressures, self-criticism, perfectionism, anxiety and the list goes on. Furthermore, children who innately know the power of their minds and the need to “turn it off,” will often look to video games as an outlet. And that is not a bad thing.
Video games can allow children to shut their “minds off” from the daily stresses of life or negative thinking that can contribute to stress and anxiety. Just as there are many other creative outlets including: coloring, listening to music, playing an instrument, baking and even meditation. Video games can be a helpful distraction.
Each child is unique and will gravitate to the creative outlet that works best for him or her. If part of that outlet for your child includes moderate video gaming, then “let the games begin!”