Effects of Restricting the Type and Amount of Video Game Use by Children

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Effects of Restricting the Type and Amount of Video Game Use by Children

Popularity of Video Games

Playing video games has become almost as popular as watching television. The vast majority of school children play video games; they are part of the daily routine of 65% of American households. Video games account for 30% of the US toy market and the annual earnings from video games approaches nine billion dollars, which is more than the gross sales from box office tickets for movies. This amount is 10 times the amount spent on production of children’s educational television programming (Walsh, 1999). Despite the popularity of video games, parents and teachers alike question whether or not this activity has any educational value.
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It is reasonable to suggest that if parents play an active role in the child's life and make sure their children know the difference between fantasy and reality, then playing video games can be a positive learning tool. Otherwise, this activity can cause social problems because the child, by devoting much of his or her free time to computer games, will begin to act out their fantasies and violent actions in their everyday lives. Playing video games can also cause social isolation and reduced opportunity to learn social skills (Buchman & Funk 1996).

Should parents restrict children’s access to video games? Several issues make this a difficult question to answer. Clearly, video games are popular activities and children through Young adults will play video games regardless of whether or not they have therapeutic value. Visual media are attractive to children and there is some evidence that a child’s attention span and hand/eye coordination may improve after playing video games (Parente, 1997). Children are visual learners and the younger the child, the more he or she may be attracted to video games for entertainment. Indeed, playing video games may be one reason why Performance IQ on intelligence tests has increased since the turn of the century whereas the Verbal IQ has not (Flynn, 1998).

Children enjoy video games. There are a great

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