Gaming is often mentioned in the same breath with addiction and square eyes. But, experts say, 9 times out of 10 it is not at all bad to immerse yourself (as a child) in a computer game for three hours.
The idea that gaming is a bad thing that always has negative consequences for your child’s development, in any area, is quite ingrained.
With every new season of a hit game, messages are flying around your ears about addicted teens who just build up a fight at home because they insist on gaming. Just a hand in your own bosom: also at the editors of RTL Nieuws.
Let them do their thing
Because every new season of, say, Fortnite , the kids are completely hyper , there is a continuous battle in the house , a lot of arguments , parents feel that they have lost their child and they have to do all kinds of art and flying work to get their child from keep away from the display.
This negative approach to gaming is not always justified. There are plenty of reasons to let your child get on with the game console, experts say.
1. They like it
The all, all, most important reason, says Harry Hol. He is affiliated with Bureau Jeugd & Media and gives lectures and workshops on gaming. “Of course they also learn something from it, but the main reason is that children enjoy computer games. to get to know better, but to relax. ”
2. They learn something from it
“What I notice best is that gaming improves my responsiveness,” says Mathia Koolhout (28). She’s been gaming for as long as she can remember. She has more than 42,000 followers on game streaming platform Twitch. “If I have a tennis match in the evening, I play a shooting game for it. That way I am sharper on the net.”
Her English has also improved through gaming, says Koolhout. Harry Hol agrees. “When I ask children what they learn from gaming, they often say that it has improved their language skills, especially English.”
What can be learned from games differs per type of game, according to former e-athlete Koen Schobbers. “A game in which you race in a Formula 1 car requires different skills than a shooting game or a game in which you go on an adventure. Children can improve a lot by playing: their hand-eye coordination, small motor skills, but also cognitive functions such as working in a team, their working memory, patience, problem-solving skills, and so on. ”
Another reason to let your child play games: their general knowledge is being updated. “They learn more about history through games like Anno 1800 and Age of Empires,” says Koolhout. “And more about biology through Animal Crossing.” Another example: in Harry Potter Wizards Unite, an augmented reality game, the sights and monuments in a city are also the locations where what a player can get.
3. It is a safe way to experiment
“Playing a game is a safe way for a child to experiment with certain roles. Even with games that involve shooting or stealing,” says Harry Hol. “If your child plays the bad guy in a computer game, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is or will be a mean person.”
It is a good way to explore a (different) part of your personality, says Hol.
Practical tips with young children
From our colleague at Bright , Bastiaan Vroegop.
- If your children play on smartphones or tablets, it is useful to create a family within the app store. If they try to buy something, a parent must first give permission (and the credit card is not drained in an unguarded moment). And on some platforms you can also set that young children cannot see violent things.
- On iOS, you also have ‘Guided Access’, while Android lets you pin an app. Both do the same thing: they prevent a specific app from being closed just like that. And your child cannot leave a game to suddenly browse other apps.
- There are ways to limit playtime on many platforms, such as the Screen Time apps on iOS and Android. You can also often limit playing time on game consoles. Your router often contains ways to limit the internet use of a device, so that the PlayStation cannot go online after a certain time, for example to play Fortnites.
4. It is part of their social life
A good thing about games is that they have become very social, says Harry Hol. “What happens in the game world is part of the real life of children. During the game they chat about anything and everything. If you don’t let a child play games, it means that he or she is part of the conversation. misses, he says. “They might be playing Fortnite, but they’re still talking about the everyday stuff.”
According to him, that also partly explains the frustration when a child is brutally cut off in a game, because it has to come to the table, for example. “It’s like one of your parents walks onto the field during a game of football and takes the ball because you have to come home now.”
5. Gaming connects
Gaming together connects, says Hol. “You share an experience, just like you go to Efteling together. For children it is nice if their parents have a genuine interest in their game: then you can discuss it together.”
An additional advantage is that it makes it easier to make appointments, he says. “If you know that a game lasts an average of 20 minutes, you can better estimate whether you can say: okay, one more game. That makes it more fun and more relaxed for everyone.”
Finally, as a parent, you can help your child reflect on and put things into perspective about the game he or she is playing. “That way you can teach them to better deal with winning and losing, for example,” says Hol. “Ultimately, a computer game is not all that different from playing football or marbles.”
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Two final tips
No matter how old your kids are, when they discover computer games, there are two things you should pay attention to as a parent, says Harry Hol.
- 1. The age rating for a game. “Parents often think: it will work out, but it is not. The higher the age, the more realistic the bad things are. And no, your child does not become violent from a shooting game, but it can be scared and stressed. and lie awake when it is actually too young for it. You want to prevent that. “
- 2. The platform on which they play. “I advise all parents: please invest in good games on the Nintendo, for example. With free games, which you have a lot on the iPad, they learn something that is not good, namely that it costs money to progress in a game.”