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Parenting Perspective on Video Games

Teens love video games. Your teen is probably going to play them regardless of whether or not you allow them in your house. As a parent, it’s important to make sure that your teen understands the advantages and disadvantages of gaming. Set up rules to make sure that video games don't become addictive and set limits on where and when your teen can play.

Benefits of Video Games

  • Loads of fun. Video games are loads of fun. The technology has advanced to a point that video games are an almost real experience. You can't expect your teen to pass on the fun.
  • May improve hand-eye coordination and vision. There has been some evidence to suggest that playing video games do in fact improve hand-eye coordination and vision.
  • Confidence and self-esteem. Being a great video game player can be a source of confidence and self-esteem for your teen.
  • A chance to play and interact with other people from all over the world. Your teen can benefit from the social connection online gaming provides. He can play the same game with kids from all over the world.

Disadvantages of Video Games

  • Violence. Unfortunately, a lot of video games have violent content. A teen exposed to violence, even in a virtual setting, can become desensitized and may exhibit violent behavior in real life. Read the ratings for each game and decide which ones are best for your teen.
  • Video game addiction. Video games are addictive. Limit the time your teen is allowed to play video games in order to leave time for other activities. Consider setting up a points and reward system so that he has to earn game time.
  • A substitute for real life. Some teens use games to avoid real life. There's nothing wrong with getting away for a while, but games should not be a substitute for real social interaction and face-to-face relationships.

Video games are going to be a part of your teen’s life- if not at your house, then at a friend’s house. You need to decide how to best manage your teen’s time. Be open and honest, share your concerns, and be disciplined in your approach. You will both benefit.