Video game addiction in kids is becoming one of the prevalent problems faced by parents today. Don’t get me wrong…reality check – dual income families or those with both parents working may be more prone to have such problems. Think about those that barely have time to check on their kids. Being aware of the children’s interests and regulating their access to video games can help in preventing them from being hooked. But with restrictions in place, being at home means kids will have extra time in their hands after doing school stuff.
As gamers and anime enthusiasts, we allow the kids to have their play time – perhaps more than what experts recommend. We do believe in the cliche: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” – This goes for all ages, right? But like many things in life, moderation is key. Kids, like adults, need to have limited screen time to balance other aspects of their lives.
Limiting access to video games and game apps doesn’t stop at setting a strict schedule for playing video games. Scrutinizing the types of games that they play is more crucial than setting time limits. Exposing kids to violent games may have a negative effect on aggression or desensitize them to violent acts.
There are also games that are addicting by nature like Sims and Minecraft. These games may seem to be harmless games that encourage the creativity of the players in building and designing dwellings and in making their own characters. Unfortunately, the players can easily get hooked in building virtual worlds with their own hands and unwittingly lead them to game addiction.
There are several addictive factors in Minecraft that can get the kids hooked on it. As an endless game, it takes away the time factor that usually signals the players that it is time to stop. Players are also prompted to keep on building so they are basically performing a never ending task. Additional challenges like zombies, spiders and monsters are also there to keep the players engaged in the game. And we hope that like us, these games would be no-nos for you!
Another factor that makes this game addictive is curiosity. It encourages the players to explore the different landscapes of the game to find building materials and choose suitable locations for their houses. Dark corners and caves also offer the excitement of encountering unknown elements that could attack and kill the player’s character. Again, please make sure that there are no killing and violence in the games your kids play.
With our current situation, limiting screen time for kids and teens may sound cruel to them. Well you don’t have to ban it entirely, you just have to make sure to choose safe and fun online games for your kids – like the traditional Tetris, online chess, scrabble, and other online versions where they can play with friends.
With network games, strangers can lurk around your kids – make them understand the danger of being in contact with people behind usernames. Not everyone is there to just play a game. It is the same warning we give them about strangers – run away from creepy people.
Teens who already spend a considerable time in building their virtual domain in minecraft are likely candidates for video game addiction. Setting the ground rules for video game playing shouldn’t be the only step taken by parents. Thinking up alternative activities that would be more fun and interesting than video games can keep your child away from game addiction.
Here are some we do at home:
Books and Study
Many might think that printed books are outdated, but we prefer them over digital reads. Others may also say the Bible is not appropriate to learn anymore, but we beg to disagree. Studying the bible doesn’t only teach them lessons about life, it shows them what a loving God has purposed for us, and what he plans for us. Bible principles has also helped us from many troubles, to this day, I’m proud to say that our kids have not given us headaches.
If your child is behind a particular subject, you can help him learn, even get a tutor, even an online one to help him with the difficulties.
Crafting and more
You would be surprised how the kids love to keep their hands busy with scissors, papers, and glue. Crafting anything from origamis like cranes, hummingbirds, butterflies, rabbits will keep them concentrated and entertained.
You can also ask the kids to paint planters – if you have plain ones or glass pots. How about making pots from resin? If you do not have planters to pain, make them first. You can buy casting/resin moulds of different sizes and shapes to make them.
Virtual Museum Tours
Have your kids love to go to museum, whether fun ones, artsy, or historical ones? They would be happy to know that they can do virtual tours around their favorite museums, or one that they had wanted to see but couldn’t because of travel restrictions.
If you can play virtual mind games, you can play them physically too. Chess, is a game that is close to my heart, I played it competitively back in the days. I’m really glad to see our youngest enjoying it as much I did. Chess is a good way to bond with your kid, it also teaches them to think ahead and be secretive in the process. 😉
Other traditional board games we recommend would be Blokus, Chinese checkers, trivial pursuit, boggle, and scrabble. If your kid loves numbers, Sudoku is a good challenge for everyday.
Flute, piano, and now violin are some of the musical instruments the kids became fascinated with. While it is not a level that they would pursue as a career, we are happy that they enjoy playing. Before you jump to buy an instrument, see where your kid’s interest would be.
Music isn’t only a relaxing hobby, it helps one build confidence in being able to play a solo.
Baking and Cooking
What better way to bond and be full than by cooking and baking? There’s just so many recipes that the family can try, and the days at home made it possible to try each and every one of them. Fluffy pancakes, egg pies, macarons, waffles, the list would be endless. It is also the best time to try dishes that you are curious about.
Involving the kids when cooking and baking makes it more fun and worth it – they get to taste what they made or judge it for not being tasty. 😛
Albert Schweitzer once said, ‘There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.’ And I couldn’t agree more. While I’d probably add books, coffee, plants, those two would still be on top of the list.
We’ve always had a fish or two at home, and though they are relaxing to watch, one can’t really pet them. We’ve been cat owners since 2017 and having them in our lives has made so much difference.
Cats have made us more affectionate, we laugh a lot because of them – there’s also a lot of conversations regarding what funny antics they’ve done, it’s making us aware of these little lives that depends on us for many things, yet brings us great joy everyday by. One can never be mean when cats are around.
Having pets also teaches kids responsibility, the routine of feeding them, cleaning up after them, taking them for a walk, and playing with them makes them see what others (despite being animals) need.
Screen Time For Kids And Teens Takeaways
In this age of gadgets, screens have become a fixture in kids’ lives from a very young age. It may not always be good, but it’s not as bad either. For some, educational programs can now be easily accessed. Documentaries about nature and wildlife can pique their interest, and they might even easily learn a language through an app.
For games, yes, we still prefer traditional and games we can play with friends physically, but with restrictions in place, virtual games aren’t so bad at all. As mentioned, moderation is key when it comes to allowing screen time for kids and teens. It is important to set a limit, to teach them of dangers that may not be visible to them, and to make sure that the games they play are safe.