In recent times, the popularity of gaming among children and adolescents has been on the increase. The worrisome impact of gaming and how it affects children’s grades have been a major concern amongst parents and educationists. The need to create a balance between academics and online playtime cannot be overemphasized.
By limiting children’s access to gaming, they are more likely to find joy in real-world activities–such as spending time with family, reading, creative and outdoor play, and school. Such limits also help children learn that technology is best used as a tool, not a toy.
(Dr. Richard Freed, Psychologist and author)
Gaming and Concentration
According to a study conducted by Nicholas K. Geranios the amount of time spent playing games affects children’s ability to concentrate. Children who spend an average of forty minutes and above playing online games or electronic games; like PlayStation 2, during study time find it very difficult to concentrate on their academics. In addition, their mind also remains active even when they sleep and this leads to poor sleeping habits.
When it comes to children and screens, it feels as though parents are wearing headpieces with conflicting information wired into each ear. On one side is a steady warning about game addictions and the subsequent consequences of letting kids spend too much time on devices playing games. On the other side is information about the benefits of online learning. Children would happily spend endless amounts of hours in front of their screens. Therefore, it is up to parents to find the balance.
Gaming addiction has officially been recognized by the World Health Organisation as a mental health condition. WHO’s International Classification of Diseases now lists gaming addiction. [Read: What Parents Should Know About Gaming Addiction]
In a recent move, China has developed a policy to help reduce the rate of children addiction to gaming. China has set new rules for underage video gamers, which include no playing after 10 p.m. and 90-minute limits on weekdays. The Chinese government blames gaming for academic declines, as a recent survey reportedly found that nearly one in five Chinese youth were addicted to gaming.
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Gaming addiction has also been linked to medical issues like eye defects such as Myopia (nearsighted) which has skyrocketed and other side effects.
Negative Side Effects of Gaming Addiction On Children’s Education
Aggressiveness due to Violent Video games
What kids are constantly exposed to rubs off on their personality. As children get addicted to games with too much violent content they tend to want to experiment hence leading to them becoming more aggressive.
Children who do not socialize with friends or engage in outdoor fun activities with their peers are more likely to exhibit social phobias. They will find it difficult to develop interpersonal relationships with people in general, becoming even more socially isolated and only find joy when engaged in their games. All this can contribute to their academic performance suffering.
Confusion between reality and fantasy
Gaming addiction robs children of the very essential part of being able to separate reality from fantasy. It is also very important that parents choose appropriate video games for their children, based on age and content.
However as much as there are negative side effects of gaming addiction in children in their education, there are also some positive effects of gaming in a child’s learning experience. What parent and educators should do is strike a balance to prevent the negative effects.
Positive Effects of Gaming on Children
- Good Bonding Activity Between Parents or Teachers and Children. Video games have proven to be one of the best ways to be actively involved with your children. Be intentional about finding the right types, set healthy limits and play some online games together.
- Games help to stimulate ideas in children and encourages creativity; which is why you must make sure that they are actually games that stimulate positive learning.
- Computer games make children comfortable with the concepts of computer-related technologies. The complexity of today’s games encourages children to use many parts of their brain at the same time and to get comfortable online.
- There are several online versions of the traditional games such as Scrabble, Crosswords puzzles, Monopoly and Chess, these help them sharpen their minds and learn. Children can play against computer opponents which tends to stretch them further. The other day, my son was learning the concept of budgeting, earning and investing through an online game. I dare say he learnt much more through this than I might have taught him myself; it was practical and this gave us a base to discuss further on money matters.
Of course, there is the good and not so good side of technology, the trick for parents is to help their children strike the balance.