For many parents, the subject of video gaming is a sensitive one, with complaints that their child or children spend too much time on this “habit.” This criticism is more likely to arise over the weekends or school holidays when children have more free time. According to a 2019 poll by US-based edge cloud services provider Limelight Networks, Singaporean gamers spend the most time gaming each week in Asia, averaging 7.44 hours per week, more than their counterparts in South Korea and Japan.
What are the implications of this? We can safely claim that Singaporeans adore playing video games. We can also deduce that there must be a variety of video games for so many different people to enjoy the same activity: Candy Crush and Mobile Legends are both mobile games, just as a mouse and an elephant are both mammals. But that’s all there is to it in terms of facts.
We can’t conclude, for example, that the majority of Singaporean gamers are addicted to video games or that they have a negative impact on youngsters. Because, like any other form of entertainment your child may partake in, video games are neither good nor harmful in and of themselves. What matters is how parents actively control their children’s video game intake so that they have fun and learn new skills while avoiding the perils of addiction.
Understanding Video Games
When all you see is your youngster bent over his or her phone, tablet, or computer screen for hours on end, inattentive to everything you say, it’s tempting to point the finger at video games. Rather than reacting reflexively with disgust to your child’s favorite game, parents should set out with the goal of understanding, if not appreciating, why their child enjoys it so much. This offers up a lot of possibilities for you. If your child enjoys competing against other human players in a multiplayer game, for example, you can use this as an opportunity to teach them how to be modest in triumph and gracious in defeat. Observing how your child interacts with other users online can teach and guide them in many ways. If you fear he or she is spending too much time gaming, you can urge him or her to participate in sports as an alternative outlet for those competitive emotions. We would run out of room if we were to list all of the talents that your child can hone or gain from playing video games.
Simultaneously, knowing what games your child plays will help you guide him or her away from the darker aspects of gaming. Many online games have freemium business structures that encourage players to pay real money for more powerful or attractive objects and characters via microtransactions. Some games are more aggressive than others in this regard, and may not be appropriate for younger children who have difficulty controlling their urges. You may also want to limit the amount of time older children spend in-game or gently encourage them to play a game with fewer or no microtransactions. For example, the famous FIFA 21 football game has an ‘Ultimate Team’ option that is riddled with microtransactions – while the mode is officially free-to-play, gamers who pay real money to amass the greatest characters gain a significant edge. However, FIFA 21 provides a variety of additional modes that do not expose youngsters to the temptation of spending real money, so you don’t have to worry about your child enjoy them.
Managing Your Child
Understanding the games your child enjoys might go a long way toward convincing him or her to adopt a healthy gaming habit. If your child realizes that you don’t “hate” video games and aren’t trying to get them to quit playing altogether, he or she is more likely to accept time limits on gaming. This allows the parent-child conversation to start on the same basis as any other leisure activity the youngster likes. There is no set amount of time a youngster should spend gaming in a given day, week, or month. What matters is that your child understands that, like any other leisure activity, gaming is a luxury that can only be enjoyed after homework, housework, and other obligations have been completed. You, as the parent, have the best notion of what your child’s daily schedule will be like, and video game time must fit into that. If your child has an hour of free time after dinner, for example, gaming could be one of his or her options. Additional gaming time can be given as a reward for timely completion of homework or outstanding academic performance at school.
Helping Students Reach the Top of Their Game
Children enjoy video games because they are entertaining. There’s nothing wrong with having a good time, but parents must play an important part in ensuring that learning opportunities are maximized while bad consequences such as addiction and cyberbullying are minimized. Games can also be used in the classroom. Many games include educational elements (for example, historical games teach players about a time of history), but there is a specialized sub-genre of educational games that includes Carmen Sandiego and even the Education Version of the immensely famous Minecraft.