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Why parents should be allowing kids to play more video games

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  • Queen of sgForums
    驚世駭俗醜不啦嘰 moderatress
    FireIce's Avatar
    265,912 posts since Dec '99
    • I could tell you about the educational benefits for your children of playing video games.

      For instance, it improves reaction time, hand-eye coordination, cognitive development, and even social and negotiating skills when your children buy and sell virtual items in the game.

      If your child is a clan leader who is organising successful 40-man raids on the most secure dungeons, he or she is probably a child prodigy who has great people-management skills and is a master of operational efficiency.

      If he or she is playing Minecraft non-stop, you would probably have read 101 articles on how the game - in which players mine materials from the environment to create buildings in all shapes and sizes - helps the child with creativity and problem-solving.

      There is even a study that shows that video gamers make better surgeons.But you don't need me to tell you all these.

      Just Google "video game benefits" and they will all show up. What I really do want to talk about is the issue of video-game addiction.

      As long as parents are afraid that their kids will turn into mind-warped zombies who do nothing except sit in front of their computer screens - and mobile phones these days - all day long to grow vegetables, shoot monsters and conquer castles, the fear of addiction will outweigh any benefits one can think of.

      For psychologists, addiction is a dirty word because it stigmatises a child believed to suffer from this problem, and it is hard to define at what point a child becomes addicted to video games.

      One child can be playing five hours of video games every day and not be an addict if it does not interfere with his or her ordinary responsibilities in life.

      Another child can be gaming for the same amount of time, and forgoing sleep, studying and even meals. It really depends on each case.

      So a child who spends a lot of time gaming may not be an addict, though the many hours of game time may perhaps be better spent on playing sports to improve health or visiting museums to learn more about the history of Singapore.

      Addiction - I use the word loosely here to mean the spending of too much time on playing video games, from a parent's point of view - is not something that happens overnight, but once a child is engrossed in a game, it is often difficult to get him or her to stop.

      As someone who has been an avid video gamer since I was a child, I can understand how easy it is to be sucked into virtual worlds.

      I almost failed my first year in law school because I was spending almost all of my waking hours in front of the screen. I skipped lectures because I could not wake up in time, procrastinated on assignments because I was too busy conquering China, and started studying for my final exam just a week before the dreaded day.

      I have not stopped playing video games. Even now, with a hectic work schedule and three young kids to manage, I still put in an hour or two of video gaming on average every day.

      For many years of my life, I felt lousy about myself. I felt I could have done a lot better in my law course had I spent more time studying. I knew I had the potential. When I scored an A in law of trusts - only one of two students who did so that year - my classmates couldn't believe it and my tutor said it was a "pleasant surprise".

      I felt I could have been fitter had I spent more time playing sports. I can't remember when it happened but, over the years, I have learnt that video games were the easy culprit to blame for what I now see was a lack of discipline and self-responsibility when I was younger. The truth of the matter is that playing video games is just another activity.

      Undergraduates will also miss lectures if they had spent the whole night partying and drinking alcohol instead of playing video games.

      My second daughter spends a lot of time doing other things instead of studying. At one time, it was playing video games. When I stopped her, she turned to reading grammatically horrifying fan fiction on her tiny smartphone screen.

      My youngest daughter, who is just four years old, doesn't play video games, but she can watch cartoons on Netflix until she falls asleep on the sofa. My eldest daughter spends very little time on video games, turning to pursuits such as building electrical circuits and drawing manga in her free time.

      But these do not affect her studies because she is naturally studious and hard-working. It would be unreasonable in this day and age to ban your kids from playing video games.

      Gaming used to be limited to just a group of kids in my time but, these days, kids who don't play video games are not the norm, especially if they are boys.

      I still remember my friend calling me a couple of years ago, desperate for advice from the video-game guru on how to get her son immersed in video games because the other children on his school bus thought he was weird and were avoiding him.

      More importantly, playing video games is extremely fun (apart from the benefits mentioned earlier), and it would be unkind to deprive your children of what is one of the most enjoyable things to do in their free time. Almost every child will want to play video games.

      As they are so engaging, leaving your kids to play them unsupervised is definitely not a good idea.

      But banning them is also a bad move because it will just encourage your children to play behind your back, to taste the sweetness of the forbidden fruit.

      Parents should learn about these games and steer their children away from certain games that can be more addictive than others. Watch out for many of the "free-to-play" games, which are deliberately designed to suck your kids into the games.

      The business model is to give out the game for free to capture a huge audience of gamers, of which 5 to 10 per cent will become so glued to it that they spend hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars on it.

      Look out, too, for those games in which gamers can pay real money to get a chance to gain advantages, such as powerful "weapons" or the ability to complete tasks immediately instead of having to wait for hours and days. These are the ones that can wreak havoc with their savings and their lives.

      A game for a single player that is over when he beats the final obstacle is a good option because there is an end to the game, like a movie. I like card-strategy games, such as Hearthstone and Magic, which encourage competitive play and require the use of brain power to beat the opponent.

      The most important thing is balance. Teach your child to balance playing video games with other pursuits, such as watching movies at the cinema, doing sports, eating ice cream, cleaning up their own mess and finishing their homework. As my 13-year-old daughter put it: "Playing video games is okay. You just need to manage your time and be responsible to yourself."

      Wise words indeed. I'm going to play a game of Magic. And it is a lot more fun to do that, now that I have finished my homework for the day.

      This article was first published on August 10, 2015.

  • MapleSage Support's Avatar
    3 posts since Sep '15
  • Scorpiolvoe's Avatar
    4 posts since Oct '15
  • Eagamebox.snf3d's Avatar
    2 posts since Oct '15
  • airelog234's Avatar
    76 posts since Oct '15
    • i believe we should not have a solution that creates other problems. gaming may bring advantages but i feel it has the inherent disadvantage of missing the real life social interactions. 


      as we all know online social interaction is different from real life interaction. online people are more mean and unsensored because nothing can happen to them. a person can not interact in real life the way they interact online.


      i feel there can be best of both world. online gaming needs to be regulated, the game themselves needs to be structure in a way that promotes positive behaviours like team work and empathy. if we look at most of the popular first person shooter, this is not the case, in fact, its the opposite.

  • gracebracetan's Avatar
    2 posts since Nov '15

      Shoutout to all the gaming fans out there!

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      What are you waiting for?
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  • Stevelim85's Avatar
    9 posts since Nov '15
  • Daniel.zoleta's Avatar
    11 posts since Nov '15
    • well thats a good read. for me, i'll allow them to play video games but not more that like 2-3hrs.. study comes first. 

  • Vickicup's Avatar
    8 posts since Jan '16
  • Tobfante's Avatar
    2 posts since Feb '16
  • Pogogames483's Avatar
    1 post since Feb '16
  • neobazar's Avatar
    9 posts since Feb '16
  • haruka1's Avatar
    10 posts since Mar '05
    • It is not the game that is bad. It is the lack of guidance (mainly parental) that can be bad. But then again, it's still open to arguments.

  • peaksel's Avatar
    3 posts since Mar '16
    • I agree with haruka1.

      I do believe some video games can have many positive effects on children. Some of them do improve cognition and motor coordination. There are many educational games.

      However, I think that proper guidance is necessary expecially for younger children.

      Some developers specialize in educational games and some of them are really good and can have benefits of cognitive development.

      Today we have the opportunity to use technology in many ways, why not use it as part of education. I am not even going to mention playing video games as a spare time activity, but I would recommend it for older children.... 

  • Mandy00930's Avatar
    9 posts since Apr '16
  • InsomniaDekaron's Avatar
    10 posts since May '16
    • Every hobby has its pros and cons. People should get rid of the bad stereotypes.
      Watching TV is okay, but looking at the monitor and doing something interesting is bad?

  • Terrencechong12's Avatar
    9 posts since Jun '16
  • Nice3224's Avatar
    9 posts since Jul '16
    • I know a wonderful 3D mobile game called Pokeland Legends is coming soon~Players can fight with pokemons in the game! You guys can find it on FB page. I hope i can find some players with me here.

  • ajahajah's Avatar
    7 posts since Feb '05
  • SEAWoW's Avatar
    3 posts since Sep '16
    • Check out this new World of Warcraft private server in singapore - http://www.sea-wow.com

      WOTLK 3.3.5a - play with your friends at 10ms and complete content!

  • MIQGame's Avatar
    9 posts since Aug '16
  • GhastlyWank's Avatar
    10 posts since Oct '16
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