What to do if your child is interested in video games. Parent’s Guide

The negative impact of games on the psyche of children is legendary. So what should you do if you notice that your child is getting addicted to video games?

Video games have practically supplanted the standard entertainment for children of the 90s. The little one replaced outdoor adventures with virtual worlds, and less and less often chases the ball on the street, climbs the abandoned ones, and so on. This is not to the liking of parents, who, moreover, do not understand how to react to such a hobby. Panic is also caused by the yellow media, constantly accusing video games of all mortal sins.

In fact, video games are a good way to relax and have a lot of positive emotions. Such entertainment even contributes to the development of thinking, but everything has pitfalls. Today you will learn what to do if a child is interested in video games and whether it is worth fearing this hobby.

Why are video games so addicting?

What if your child is interested in video games? / Photo: NV

First, it’s worth figuring out what the kid found in these video games. Satan’s tricks? US State Department? Or is this the way the KGB is recruiting new agents? In fact, the answer is simple – curiosity. In the first years of their lives, children constantly learn something new and strive to see even more. Over time, this craving gradually fades, but video games reawaken it.

When a player enters a new virtual world, he has to study it: how he lives, what are the rules, dangers, and so on. In addition, video games throw challenges to gamers, giving rewards for completing them. Even if you cannot touch them with your hands, the brain realizes that it has coped with a difficult task, received a reward and wants more. Approximately the same sensations are received by an athlete who lifted a heavy barbell or a scientist who has solved another difficult problem.

The developers of the video game in every possible way exploit the desire to “explore” and “win”, building the levels so that the gamer is interested in spending time in the game. That is why children and even adults spend their free time on virtual entertainment, but what are the consequences?

Impact of video games

What if your child is interested in video games? / Photo: Pixabay

If you listen to “experts” and politicians, video games turn the gray matter of children into mush and make them hate all living things. In fact, after playing Call of Duty, Super Mario or Civilization, the brain will say, “Thank you.”

In 2012, a professor at the University of Geneva, Daphne Bavelier, conducted an interesting experiment. She gathered people and divided them into two groups – those who play video games and those who do not. The purpose of the experiment was to find out if video games affect a person’s attentiveness.

Bavelier gave both groups the Stroop test. The screen displayed the names of the colors, which were colored differently. The subject’s task is to quickly name the color of the word, not the word itself. It turned out that gamers were less likely to make mistakes and, in principle, coped better with the task.

Daphne also came up with an interesting moving point test. Many yellow and several blue circles are shown on the screen. At one point they all turn yellow and start moving. The subject’s task is to keep track of the dots that were previously blue. The professor found out that ordinary people track 1-3 points at the same time, but gamers – from 4 to 6.

Dynamic games like Call of Duty and Super Mario use the parietal and frontal cortex. The first is responsible for the execution of planned movements, and the second – for attention, cognitive activity and motor skills. At the same time, it is important to remember that you can get a positive effect if you play a couple of hours a day. Spending tens of hours playing video games, the child will simply forget about other important things, like reading, eating, physical development and more. You will find out how to control this a little later.

Video games and violence

What if your child is interested in video games? / Photo: NV

Separately, I would like to talk about the connection between games and violence. Every time they start firing guns in schools, critics immediately appear, accusing GTA and “shooters”. The logic behind such statements is simple: there is violence in games, children see it and become violent. It sounds logical, but research on people in dressing gowns proves otherwise.

For example, in 2018, the University of York published a study that refutes criticism. The scientists took 3 thousand people, divided them into groups and offered to complete the sentence. Participants were given options with neutral and aggressive connotations to find out if the thinking of the person playing the shooters was different. It turned out that both groups answered roughly the same.

“We found that in the logic word completion problem, the players did not opt ​​for violent concepts. There was also no difference in performance between those who played the realistic game and those who dealt with conventional graphics. There was also no significant difference between games that used so-called real versus unreal tactics, “said study author Dr. David Zendl.

This is also confirmed by a study by the US Department of Education. Scientists looked at cases of shootings in schools, trying to find out what the perpetrators of the accidents were fond of. It turned out that among the attackers, 37% wrote poetry, 27% watched violent films, 24% were addicted to books, and only 12% preferred video games.

Where to begin?

What if your child is interested in video games? / Photo: NV

So you noticed that your child is addicted to video games, realized that this is a pretty cool activity and decided to support him. You should start by choosing a gaming device that will correspond to the age of the young gamer. Nintendo consoles are best suited for children, particularly the DS series handheld consoles.

The lineup includes New 3DS and New 2DS, as well as 3DS and 2DS, but we are interested in the latter. Firstly, it costs about $ 80, while the price for other models starts at $ 150, and secondly, it is more difficult to break because of the monolithic body.

Why Nintendo? This company makes the friendliest consoles with cute games. For example, the library has Animal Crossing, in which the player has to explore the world and manage a small town. There are also many games where you have to take care of virtual pets or solve puzzles.

Here’s a small list of games worth buying with your console: Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Pokemon Series, WarioWare Gold, Super Mario 3D Land, Super Mario Bros. 2 and the Mario Kart 7 race.

What if your child is interested in video games? / Photo: NV

If your child is more careful about things, then he can even be handed a Nintendo Switch, which can be played at home and on the road. The console itself is a tablet with joysticks, but there is a docking station that allows you to display images on a TV. For this console, even more interesting games for children have been released, but there are also projects with an 18+ rating. Now is the time to talk about Parental Control.

Nintendo has created a dedicated app. With its help, you can specify the time that the child is allowed to spend on games. For example, if you set the timer for an hour, then during the passage, the console will show an alert that it’s time to wrap up. If this is not enough, then you can activate the option that will turn off the set-top box when the timer expires.

In addition, you can see what games your child has started, restrict the launch of projects with a rating of 18+ or lower, and also prohibit communication with strangers online.


Similar features are also found on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The developers allow you to set a limit on spending in the store or limit the launch of games by age rating. PS4 also supports Trend Micro Kids Safety. This web filtering software helps keep children from viewing inappropriate or harmful content through their web browser.

Age rating

Parents should also keep an eye on the age rating of the games. Critics often blame GTA for the cruelty seen by children, but only this episode belongs to the 18+ category and is prohibited for those under this age. If the child gets to such a game, then this is a mistake of the parents.

Typically, the age rating is indicated on the game box or on the project page in a digital store, be it eShop (Nintendo), PlayStation Network or Xbox Marketplace. In European regions, they write 18+, 16+, 6+ and so on, which we understand, but sometimes we come across unknown E, AO or M. Such markings are set by the ESRB rating commission, and each letter means certain restrictions.


  • “EC” (“Early childhood”) – “For young children”:
  • “E” (“Everyone”) – “For all”
  • “E10 +” (“Everyone 10 and older”) – “For everyone 10 years and older”
  • “T” (“Teen”) – “Teenagers” (13 years and older)
  • “M” (“Mature”) – “From 17 years old”
  • “AO” (“Adults Only 18+”) – “Only for adults”

Every console, whether it’s PlayStation 4, Xbox One or Nintendo Switch, lets you set an age limit and keep your child safe from inappropriate content.

What if your child is addicted to video games? / Photo: Pixabay

If your child plays on the computer, then you should strain yourself, because it will be difficult for you to control the content. The child can download any game from a third-party site, so they will have to restrict the use of the browser, blocking access to certain sites. You will also have to put a password for installing programs, which also adds hassle. The easiest way is to buy a console and install “Parental Control”.

Smartphones are also worth mentioning. Android has Google’s Family Link app. You can connect your child’s account to your family account, controlling purchases of apps, music, movies and books, and restricting content. In iOS, this feature is hidden in the Screen Time settings. Allows parents to control iTunes purchases, block apps from launching, and restrict Siri use. For detailed instructions, visit Apple and Google .

Advice for parents

What if a child is addicted to video games? / Photo: Warner

Still, it is not enough to just sit the child down before playing, occasionally controlling the process. Psychologist Nir Ial believes that parents should take part in the child’s hobby and even play themselves. At the same time, it is necessary to explain to a young gamer when he or she spends too much time playing games and what it is fraught with.

“Be vulnerable. Show them that you, too, have a hard time breaking away from the game. Let them set their own time limits for playing sessions and help them fit into them, instead of setting new rules, ”says Nir.

According to the psychologist, children are looking for a little independence in video games. At school and at home, they are constantly told what to do and are often not allowed to cope with problems on their own. Games allow children to deal with difficulties themselves, becoming experts in their favorite hobby. Sometimes it’s worth giving your child the opportunity to feel smarter and letting them teach you.

Plus, video games can become more than a hobby. The gaming industry is in demand for designers, programmers, artists, screenwriters and even engineers. It is possible that in the future the child will want to make his own games, and will become the next Michel Ancel, John Carmack or Hideo Kojima.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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