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Parenting advice about the benefits of video games

Author John Thompson
Submitted 08-01-2009

Some fathers may find themselves wary of their child’s interest in video games – after all, conventional parenting advice warns against exposure to violence and too much sedentary activity.

However, psychiatrist Dr Kourosh Dini, author of Video Game Play and Addiction: A Guide for Parents, reminds parents not to overlook the benefits of this type of play.

The key factor revolves around whether or not a game is appropriate for a certain age group, he says. If children are playing games created with them in mind, they may develop valuable skills.

"Age-appropriate multi-player video games can allow children to learn how other people think – a key aspect of empathy," Dini explains.

Additionally, kids who game may have an upper hand when it comes to using "new and ever progressing technology," he says.

Some fathers and mothers may be comfortable with occasional video game use but find their parenting skills are challenged when their child spends too much time with a control pad in their hand.

Dini encourages parents not to jump to the conclusion that their child is addicted to gaming, but to keep an eye on "problematic" behavior that could impede healthy development.

Around 40 percent of U.S. households own a video game console, according to the Entertainment Software Association.