Simple tips for parents and guardians of young gamers

The New York Times published a pretty bleak look at what quarantine induced screen/gaming time is theoretically doing to kids in January of 2020. But this is not a new topic or issue. Silent movies were said to provoke crimeViolent TV and, later, violent video games said to cause violent crimes. War games have been said to cause mass-shootings.

In fairness, every generation has its own social and moral panic about emerging technologies and technology adoption, and it is far from over for video games and gaming discussions.

The issue is that no one actually keeps their eye on the ball. As each new technology comes out, we forget the last one. In recent years, we have been easily excited and distracted by emerging technologies, rhetoric, and ‘experts’, most of which has now come to light following the sudden manifestation of COVID-19. It is therefore pivotal to maintain focus and not only see the pandemic as a disruption, but also as an opportunity to bridge certain gaps and re-calibrate for tech-adoption maturity and beyond. In the article, I address a concern from a parent in London below.

as a parent with an artistic child I see him losing all his other interests, if I let him play everyday there would still be an argument when it’s time to stop! I personally worry about too much time staring at a screen.

A Concerned Mother

Gaming is a joint leisure time activity for many people around the world. When humans share leisure time activities together, they often initiate, build, and foster diverse social relationships. For more on the social and economic side of gaming, read my top tips for parents and guardians here and the socio-economic benefits of gaming and eSports here.

Contemporary online gaming devices are not so different from a personal computer or a smart phone and the internet. Contemporary gaming devices and access are pretty much portals to infinite social worlds, applications, and engagement.

At IFB, we believe that computer games (digital games or video games) are great and as we approach tech-adoption maturity and the final phase of the 4th industrial evolution, more and more things will be game-like. Have you played a game on Facebook recently and shared with your friends?

We have found that many people believe that there is a scientifically established relationship between violent video game play and violent crime, when in fact there is no research to indicate such a link. There is also strong misperception that just because someone plays a lot of video games, they are addicted to them. Disregarding the fact that there is currently an open debate as to whether or not video game addiction exists at all.

Pre pandemic, WHO classified gaming as a mental health disorder. Some leaders openly voiced their concerns for gaming addiction and its inherent link to violence – for example, the mass shootings in the USA. In the UK, the top mental health nurse has warned that video games are pushing young people into ‘under the radar’ gambling. It is far from over for gaming, but for now, here are some simple tips for parents and guardians of young gamers.

Simple Tips For Parents & Guardians

Be aware of the 3Cs, communication, connections and context of communication and connections during multiplayer-online gaming.

Off-line, use framing to focus on time and activity planning and management more than screen-time.

Gaming must not be his/her only social, playtime and relaxation activity.

Be present and interested and participate when he/she is gaming.

Finally, it costs to purchase a v-box for a young person every week to play video games such as FORTNITE. This partnership and privilege should be positively framed and transferable to developments at home and in real life.

Published by John Adewole

PMP. Digital Evangelist. Leading British Gamification Practitioner. Computer Science Teacher.

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