Video games have been a popular form of entertainment for decades, particularly with kids and teens. But in the past few years, more advanced mobile devices have led to video games being more accessible than ever – no longer confined to a living room console or computer desktop. In fact, the Entertainment Software Association’s recent demographic survey notes that 60% of Americans play video games daily.
With the increased accessibility and uptick in gaming, some parents and educators may have concerns about how often kids are playing video games, especially when it interferes with homework and family time. So, what is a balanced approach when it comes to video game usage? And how can you and your family discuss appropriate ground rules?
“The impact of video games can be positive or negative depending on the content and length of exposure,” said Dr. Erica Francis-Scott, a pediatrician and national accounts medical director for Optum. “Informational games can be a useful tool in supporting the learning of new concepts and mastering specific skills. On the other hand, a potential issue is the duration of play, especially if there is interference with other activities that the child or adolescent would otherwise be involved in.”
When considering length of exposure, it’s important to understand the child and adolescent brain is still maturing. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it takes until a person’s mid-to late-20s to complete its full development process.