We can’t help but wonder what the long-term effects of video game playing will be and we limit the games in our house. And until now, we’ve said “later” to hand-held games and TV games such as PlayStation and Nintendo. However, more and more evidence actually points to a correlation between increasing IQ scores and technology advances in the last 40 years. Therefore, we haven’t made a black and white decision on video games in the same way we would cigarettes, for example.
In a recent book, How Computers Help Children Learn, Dr. David Shaffer of the University of Wisconsin offers a few ideas for helping kids get the most out of their time gaming.
- Talk to your child about the games he’s playing and what they mean to him.
- Enforce moderation. It’s up to you to keep an eye out for too much video game playing and its effects.
- Look for games that build skills. Games like SimCity help develop skills that are applicable to the real world.
You can use the power of the purse to guide your child to the right choices rather than passively allowing variations on the “DOOM” model into the house. If you can’t always be right on top of computer usage, keep the family computer in a very public area that makes it hard to use privately. This in itself will cut down on extreme uses of games and the Internet.