Do you have a die-hard video game fan at home? Are you noticing changes in his behavior of late? Is his school performance going down because of his video game addiction? Well, if you relate to any of these situations, then you must give our post on how video games affect teenagers a read.
If you are a mother, chances are that you have a teenager who is a die-hard fan of video games. It is a great source of recreation for teens. Although these games have been around for decades, today’s sophisticated games require the players to play close attention. Teens engage on a deeper level while playing, both emotionally and physically. So is playing video games good or bad for your teen? In a way, it is both good and bad. Read on to know the positive and negative effects of violent video games on children and teenagers.
Positive Effects Of Video Games On Teenagers:
1. It Improves The Cognitive Functions:
According to research conducted by C. Shawn Green, the psychologist of the University of Wisconsin, video games can benefit the teen’s cognitive functions. It changes the brain structure exactly the same way while playing the piano, navigating the map and learning to read. The combination of concentration and the surges of neurotransmitters strengthen the neural circuits that build the brain.
[ Read: Effects Of Social Media On Teens ]
2. Hand And Eye Coordination:
Research has shown that teens can learn spatial, visual, and iconic skills from the video games. Some games require a great deal of visual-spatial ability and hand-eye coordination to be successful. The player has to coordinate the brain’s reaction and interpretation with his hands and fingertip movements.
3. Quick Thinking And Accuracy:
The action in video games prepares the gamers to make quick decisions. It trains the brain to make fast decisions without losing accuracy. A study has also shown that video games can train surgeons and soldiers.
4. Improve Your Child’s Decision Making Skills:
Gaming will improve your child’s decision-making skills. The study has found that teens that play video games made decisions 25% faster without affecting accuracy. Teens adept in gaming can make choices and act upon them six times a second, this is four times faster than normal.
5. Encourages Teamwork:
Multiplayer games that involve cooperation with other online players encourage teamwork in teens. Video games also help teens to make the most of their skills to contribute to the team.
[ Read: Media Influence On Teenagers ]
Negative Effects Of Video Games On Teenagers:
1. Increases Aggressive Behavior:
Video games with violent content can lead to aggressive behavior in teens. It can also desensitize them to violence. Studies have shown that teens who like playing first-person shooter style games are likely to adopt a detached view of the society. They also develop aggressive thoughts and tendencies.
2. Social Isolation:
Another negative effect of video game is that teens are spending too much time playing games than playing outdoors. Video games are making teens socially isolated. Teenagers who play too much video games are also less likely to indulge in extracurricular activities like reading, writing and participating in sports.
3. Teaches Wrong Values:
Besides violent behavior, video game also teaches teens wrong values. Video games portray women as weaker characters. They depict women as helpless and sexually provocative personalities. Teens also pick up bad language and behavior while playing with other people online.
4. Poor Academic Performance:
This is one of the serious effects of video games on teens. Playing long hours of video games can affect your teen’s performance in school. If your teen spends more than two hours gaming, then he may have trouble falling asleep and paying attention in school. Video game addicts also skip their homework to play games, leading to a downfall in their grades.
5. Adverse Effects On Health:
Excessive gaming can have adverse effects on the teen’s health. Teenagers, by spending too much time playing video games, do not participate in activities that can keep them healthy and fit. It leads to obesity, muscular, skeletal and postural disorders, video-induced seizures, nerve compression and numbness in hands, elbows and shoulders.
[ Read: Internet Safety For Teens ]
Symptoms Of Video Game Addiction:
Here are some signs and symptoms to look out if you suspect that your teenager has become a video game addict. You must intervene even if your teen exhibits two or three of the following behaviors.
If your teen is suffering from video game addiction, he will exhibit a preoccupation with the game even when he is away with it. He will look distracted, irritable and will talk about the game all the time.
2. Play In Secret:
Your teen will start playing in secret or will lie to you about how long he or she has been playing. He either will lie blatantly or will find ways to hide when he is playing. He will also make excuses to play video games.
Aggression is another specific sign of teenage addiction to video games. Your teen may show aggression if he loses a game.
[ Read: Solutions To Control Aggression In Teens ]
4. Lack Of Control:
A video game addict will be unable to control the amount of time he spends on the computer. He will go online with the intention of spending just 20 minutes gaming, but will keep prolonging the time until several hours have passed.
5. Neglecting Other Areas:
Video gaming addiction will lead your child to neglect other areas of life. He will prefer staying home and playing games rather than spending time with friends. He will also neglect his studies, causing his grades to slip. In some cases, teens may also neglect personal hygiene, choosing to play video games rather than taking a shower.
6. Misuse Of Money:
Your teen may spend enormous amounts of money on games related items. He will continually upgrade the software and hardware packages and accessories. It can become a greater problem if he spends the money that he has to use for groceries and bills.
He will become defensive when asked about his time spent gaming. If your teen denies, then it is an indication that something is wrong, especially is he looks unconcerned that his friends and family are feeling left out of his life.
So you must look out for these symptoms of video game addiction in teens. It will serve as a self-diagnosis tool.
[ Read: Outdoor Activities For Teens ]
Treatment For Teenage Video Game Addiction:
Video gaming addiction must be treated the same way as any other addiction. Like other addicts, your teen may try to escape the problem rather than facing it. Taking away their gaming console or computer is not the solution. So how do you begin to fight the addiction? Here are some ways to treat video gaming addiction in teens.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most popular approach to video gaming addiction. It involves replacing unhealthy thoughts about games and introducing behavior to reduce the time spent playing games. You have to introduce it by giving rewards for following new rules, giving constant reminders to stop playing and involving the addict in other activities.
2. Talk To Your Teen:
Verbal communication is one of the most useful ways to help an addict. By talking to your teen, you can make him open up and recognize the compulsive behavior. Explain to your teen that you are worried about the amount of time he spends gaming. When you are talking about gaming addiction, try not to be judgmental in any way. He may feel embarrassed or ashamed if you behave harshly with him.
4. Limit The Time:
Do not let video game consume your child’s fun time. Limit the amount of time to not more than an hour a day.
5. Consult A Therapist:
A therapist or a program that specializes in teens could treat video game addiction. Counseling will provide the foundation for recovery success. Through the methods of counseling, he will learn to cope with the stress that causes him to use video games as an escape.
6. Summer Camp:
Send your teen to a summer camp to get him out from his usual environment to the place that will force him to experience reality. The activities at these camps will instill confidence and will foster social skills in him.
[ Read: Teenage Behavioural Problems ]
Just like other addicts, video game addicts are also helpless with their addiction. So, it is imperative to help your teen find the perfect treatment and teach him the joys of real life. It will take time, but it will show results.
Discuss with your teen the kind of games he likes playing. Ask him what he observes and how he feels while playing these video games. It will make a great opportunity to share your feelings with your child and get closer to him.
Is your child also a lover of video games? How does it affect his life? Please tell us by commenting below.
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