Parents tend to approach video games like junk food: games are fine in moderation but ultimately they are an evil temptation that’s more bad than good. Video games are a unique form of entertainment because they encourage players to become a part of the game’s script.
Video games have been known to have positive impact on children, some video games are brain teasers. They can teach kids to learn how to follow instructions, better motor skills, accuracy, pattern recognition, strategy, memory, hand-eye coordination and spatial skills, others help with logic and problem solving. Games like farmvile can teach planning and resource management.
Gaming has its dark side too. Too much of it might get your child socially isolated, they can easily confuse reality versus fantasy and be insensitive to extreme violence. Most games, aggressive, vengeance and violent behaviour are rewarded and this feelings extend even after the game is over, unfortunately terrorist also know that and they have designed games to radicalize children and young adults.
Hezbollah developed a game called Special Forces and Special Forces 2. This is a series of games. It’s a first shooter game like call of duty and simulates military missions against Israeli soldiers. The game is in English, Arabic and Farsi and you will be surprised to find that it offers mental and personal training for the players, this is not just a game but a radicalization tool.
The global Islamic Media front released “night of Bush Capturing” in 2006. This is a hunting game for players to hunt down and kill former American President George W. Bush. Players are prompted to advance through six missions against soldiers who look like Bush, followed by a seventh mission against a character that looks like the president that takes place in a desert-like region. During the game, jihadist songs are played in the background.
The basic rules to buying a game for your child is to draw a line between violent games and non-violent games. Check the ratings and reviews online, watch out for sex themed games, titles, cover photos, what kind of mental engagement does the game offer, what is your child’s maturity level and does the game offer higher levels that might not be suitable. All in all, ensure you are monitoring your child, the gaming industry is not.
Tips on Managing Teen Media Consumption
Because of the popularity of video games, completely eliminating them from your child’s life might be difficult. However, you can decrease the negative impact that they have on your child. Here are a few tips:
- Know the rating of the video games your child plays.
- Do not install video game equipment in your child’s bedroom.
- Set limits on how often and how long your child is allowed to play video games.
- Monitor all of your child’s media consumption—video games, movies, and the Internet.
- Supervise your child’s Internet use—there are now many “video games” available for playing online.
- Take the time to discuss with your children the games they are playing or other media they are watching. Ask your children how they feel about what they observe in these video games, or movies. This is an opportunity to share your feelings and grow closer with your child.
- Share with other parent’s information about certain games or ideas for helping each other in parenting.