Advancement in technology has led to the development of computer games to keep us entertained. There are thousands of computer games available today for anyone to download and play. A major con associated with this innovation however is addiction. Many children become addicted to playing these games, and they tend to concentrate more on them than their studies or other aspects of their life such as socializing or playing sports.
Let us look at some of the negative effects of playing too many computer games.
Personal Hygiene Takes a Beating
Children who are addicted to computer games tend to disregard their personal hygiene and this in turn leaves them vulnerable to various illnesses. Lack of physical interaction with the outside world is one of driving factors of this problem. This issue can accelerate when coupled with a poor diet, lack of Vitamin D and limited social interaction.
Lack of Sleep
Many children sacrifice precious time that should have been used to do school work or take part in physical exercises to intead play computer games. They also develop a habit of sacrificing sleep in order to play as well. This in turn results in sleep deprivation that can compromise their performance at school as well as their health. Sleep deprivation can develop into insomnia which can have a devastating effect on a growing child’s mind, behaviour and lifestyle.
Depression is a form of mental illnesses. Many video game addicts do not realize that they are victims of depression. Only when they stop and think critically about the effects of playing computer games is having on their lives, are they able to realize the state of their existence. It is also important to point out that children often find comfort in playing computer games, and this creates a vicious cycle that can have a problematic effect on their mental health.
Unhealthy Eating Habits
Obesity and diabetes are some of the lifestyle diseases that are caused by unhealthy eating habits. Most children who play computer games find little time to not only sleep well at night but also prepare proper meals. They end up buying fast food such as chips and chocolate bars, and this can lead to obesity due to accumulation of unnecessary fat in the body. Excess weight gain is known to cause high blood pressure, stroke, and other fatal cardiovascular diseases.
The key to a maintaining a healthy weight is moderation, a little self-control and regular exercise. Parents need to ensure their children are getting all the nutrition they need and only ingesting minimal amounts of junk food. For more information on diet and nutrition, visit our friends at My Healthy Family.
This is another leading cause of mental illness in the world today. Most computer games have internal feature that enables players to set targets and monitor their progress. For a child who is obsessed with computer games, failures, and pressures to achieve the set goals leads to stress. As mentioned earlier, they are of the idea that the only way to relieve stress is by playing more computer games, which is the primary cause of the problem they are trying to solve.
Seclusion and Solitude
Since computer games are played indoors, children tend to seclude and isolate themselves from their family members and community. Their interaction and experience with computer games takes center stage and they disregard all other forms of social interaction. Those who are hooked to the games often disregard school which in turn taints their future.
That said, it is important to point out that not all computer games are harmful to the growth and development of children. There are education games that children can play during their free time. One such game which has become enormously popular recently is called Minecraft.
We spoke with the team from Brink Hosting, a Minecraft hosting company, about the game and encouraging kids to actively participate in other aspects of their lives other than gaming. “In my opinion,” said Dave from Brink, “The biggest problems with children and computer game addiction these days is the parents not doing enough to discourage it. While spending some time playing computer games, especially educational or creative games, is fine; spending the majority of a day staring at a screen is not good for anyone.”
Here at Study Circles we tend to agree. While you may not be able to keep your children away from computer games completely, nor should you want to, you can encourage them to play more intellectually stimulating games.
Here are some of the benefits associated educational games such as Minecraft:
Makes Learning Fun
Games are tailored to make learning fun by using interactive methods and helping children learn concepts they might otherwise learn in class. This in turn helps to increase the child’s understanding of the concepts and encourages them to participate more in class and improve their grades.
Improve Motor Skills
Some educational games involve students completing tasks within a specified time-frame. This in turn helps them improve their reflexes and motor skills not to mention their ability to operate computers and other ancillary devices.
Educational games improve concentration, as they are more interactive and enjoyable when compared to conventional learning methods used in schools. Kids can easily spend hours playing educational games too! These games can also enhance memory, as the children are often required to remember various concepts to solve certain puzzles.
Nevertheless, it is recommendable for parents to encourage children to go outdoors. Here are some tips for doing this:
Mimic Indoor Environments Outdoors
This refers to taking the toys that the children often play with indoors outside. Doing this open up a new world of possibilities not to mention improve their social skills as they interact with other children. This is not always possible if they only ever play on computers, but you can always purchase other toys for them to play with.
Accompany them outdoors
Despite having a busy schedule throughout the week, it is recommended that parents set some time aside to play with their children outdoors each week. This will encourage them to take part in various outdoor activities even in your absence.
Consider Having Extension Space
This refers to constructing a patio, cubby house, or verandah that children can use as a playing spot.
Try Something New
Finally, it is good to break away from your routine and explore some different outdoor environments on occasion. Instead of sticking to your backyard all the time, try going to local parks, mountain trails or public swimming pools etc. This will provide them with more space to explore and interact with other children.