We had “Space Game” and “Pong” but there are thousands of video games available to our grandkids. We played for a few minutes each day. They may play for hours. Is this really a bad thing?
Gaming is the cognitive workout for the brain. Our grandkids learn to strategize, solve complex problems and to make decisions. They also learn to exercise these skills at a fast pace.
Gaming introduces our grands to the world of technology. This is the world they must navigate for the rest of their lives.
Like organized sports, gaming provides opportunities to learn about sportsmanship and team building.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
So should we set the timer?
Some researchers believe one to nine hours per week for a young teenager will keep the benefits coming but once the ten-hour mark is reached, it’s all downhill from there.
Teenagers who gamed more than ten hours per week began exhibiting social and behavioral problems. The most critical being social isolation and irritability.
A lack of sleep has also cited. Many cannot stop until they win or reach a certain level. Studies reveal the time it takes to fall asleep and the amount of restful sleep are both affected when time limits are not observed.
Some games are violent. Therefore, contributing to short-term increases in heart rate, long-term anxiety, and aggressive thoughts and behaviors. Young children are often exposed to such games through older siblings and parents.
Setting the limits – monitoring the time
Video gaming is still being studied and biases can go either way. The balanced approach includes monitoring and limiting.
If we monitor the types of games and the time spent playing, we’re on the right track. If we set limits such as “no gaming” days, only after homework, and not before bedtime, we can introduce healthy habits.
Awareness is key. Do we know what our grandchildren are playing? Do we know how long and at what time of day?
As grandparents, we may have little say in the matter, except in our own homes, but well-intentioned inquires and thoughtful responses may facilitate much-needed discussion.