Words from Wellbeing

My child’s gaming is out of control!

Did you know that 78% of teenagers play online games (Pew, 2009). This figure scares a lot of adults. You’re probably nodding your head right now. Your child is probably playing the games on so many devices its hard to keep track of what they’re doing and how much time they’re spending. On handheld devices like the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable, as well as consoles like the Xbox360, PlayStations 2 and 3, and the Nintendo Wii. As well as online and downloadable games for PC/Mac, iPhone, the iPad, and smart phones.
There is no doubt you feel like you’re being walked all over and your child’s device controls you. You probably see some benefits, like it brings them together with friends when playing games that are creative and sophisticated. However you probably do worry about games that are violent and addictive. So you should! Modern games are getting progressively more violent, and the control actions are more real.
These violent interactions affect kids. “Studies have shown that playing violent games increases aggression and decreases sensitivity to others.”
We know kids don’t have an ‘off’ switch and they will play for hours if allowed. Gaming addiction is very real. You would have seen changes in their health, school performance, social interactions and your hip pocket.
If you’d like to gain some control over the time your child spends gaming and the type of games they play, you can start by:

• Setting up a media agreement in the home (all new Year 7’s should have these (in white bags from 2012)
• Establish limits. Be firm from the beginning. Set an overall daily media usage time and let kids decide which games they will use when.
• Be clear about the games you want them to play, what’s age appropriate. Being aware of highly addictive games online and who they’re playing with (i.e. World of War Craft, Halo 3, Call of Duty)
• Stay involved. Continue to talk to your child about their gaming and look for games and activities that reinforce your family’s values.
For more information visit: http://bit.ly/VY61w2  
Or tweet your ideas to us: @galencatholic