Are electronic devices as bad for children as everyone makes out?

@LouRhi (1502)
Australia
January 6, 2008 10:03am CST
My daughter was recently given her first game boy. TV is not a big part of our life and electronic games machines have previously been disallowed. Now that I have seen the type of games that are available for kids to play I wonder what all the fuss is about. These seem like a great way to develop quick reaction times and hand eye co-ordination. Does anyone else agree
3 people like this
11 responses
@Sillychick (3279)
• United States
6 Jan 08
There are 2 problems I have with video games. One is that so many people let their children play for hours at a time. They don't spend any time being active or creative, two very important parts of life. A limited amount is ok, I guess, if parents monitor use closely and make sure the games are age appropriate. The other problem I have is games that are aimed at very young children- preschoolers and even infants- claiming to teach academic concepts. These are completely inappropriate, as young children learn best through concrete, hands on experiences. Too much time spent playing video games leads to obesity, lack of creativity, and has been related to ADD/ADHD. So if you are going to allow video games, choose wisely, monitor closely and set limits.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Jan 08
I'm not sure I agree with the ADD/ADHD tie. The psychologists and education professionals I have spoken to agree that if a child can sit for hours playing a video game and do well at it are not typically ADHD. For a child to sit and progress through some of these games, ADHD would be a definite problem. These children cannot sit still or remain focused on the game or task. They become bored with it or just have to get up and move about. As for too much time spent causing obesity and lack of creativity, I have seen children who sit constantly in front of a tv and never gain an ounce, and seen children who are involved in all types of activities and sports who are overweight regardless of the amount of activity they engage in. I honnestly believe that for the majority of children, overeating and poor diet and poor eating habits are responsible for children becomming overweight. As far as the being creative, there are interactive game that require the children to build or design certain aspects of their characters or environment. This is making them learn to be creative. As far as the games aimed at pre-schoolers, I think those should be limited to short intervals. It seems to me that parents anymore are over-stimulating their children. They have them in preschools at 2, and some are even learning another language at that age. Then there are the gymnastics and play groups, swimming, you name it, they have them in it. Rather than spend that time with their children, they are pushing them off on others for them to teach their kids the very important social interaction they will need to be successfull adults.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Jan 08
I have seen many children who were not diagnosed with ADD until very late because people wrongly assumed that being able to stay on task, with certain tasks, meant that they don't meet the criteria for ADD. In fact, many children with ADD are able to stay focused and on task with things that they are very involved with, and things that are very stimulating, such as TV or video games. Being able to play games for hours does not automatically mean a person does not have ADD. As for the cause/effect relationship between video games and ADD, it occurs when young children have too much external stimulation, whether from games, electronic toys or TV. They become so dependent on all of that stimulation that they have a hard time staying focused on something that doesn't light up or talk to them. That leads to having trouble focusing in a classroom. The obesity issue, while there are exceptions, it is an undisputed Fact that lack of physical activity leads to weight gain. It is also a Fact that exercise is the most effective way to lose weight. Sitting and playing video games or watching TV all day, therefore, as opposed to getting up, moving around, and doing something physical, contributes to obesity, along with overeating and poor diet. I have seen some of the 'creative' options you mention, and choosing a hair color from about 5 choices is not encouraging creativity. That is, at best, decision making. Creativity means choosing from a box of 96 crayons which color hair to put on your picture, or maybe using yarn, or glitter, or any other material you can think of. Creativity means creating from imagination, not selecting from limited options. You are correct when you say parents are overstimulating their children. All of the activities you mention can be too much for a young child to handle, and TV and video games can be put in that category as well. Too much stimulation makes children stressed, which interferes with the ability to learn new things. It also makes children dependent on that high level of stimulation, and unable to be independent. I taught preshcool for several years before I had my son. I am educated in Early Childhood Education. Those games aimed at prescoolers and infants do nothing more than help children memorize, they do not give children an understanding of the concepts. And in fact, they take away a lot. They don't allow for children to have hands on experiences, they don't allow children to explore and discover. And they allow no room for imagination or creativity. Yes, children need to learn social skills, but they also need to learn to solve problems, to be independent, as well as work as part of a team. They need to learn how to learn and to love learning. The only way to do that is to put the games away and interact with them. Offer materials that they can see, feel, touch and manipulate. Ask questions that get them thinking. Video games have no place in the education of a preschooler.
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
7 Jan 08
If taken too far electronics can really influence a child and turn them into something not so great. I've even got an example of it as a mylot discussion. http://www.mylot.com/w/discussions/1360268.aspx But with this, there are plenty of other examples where children, teens, young adults and adults all have video games or technology(computers, cellphones) and they are not as "disturbed" as the example I presented. Also know that games are now being designed with more physical activity needed to participate (Nintendo Wii, Dance Dance Revolution, Pump it Up, Stepmania, Arcade Boxing). There are even target games, puzzle games, accuracy games, brain trainers that can all be found as video games. Each of these can help sharpen a child or anyone else. Just have some moderation, and try to have a few other hobbies on the side :)
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
7 Jan 08
I had a look at your link and I think that was a prime example of parents allowing too much time on games. Surely, if they hadn't have been so soft with the kids as regards his computer then that argument wouldn't have happened because he'd know he should turn it off. I know there are games that last for ages and sometimes you have certain points to save them but if someone gets that wound up about a computer game then there has to be something wrong. My partner is like that and it really upsets the rest of us because, not only is he ignoring everyone and sitting around all day, but then he's shouting because of a game as if it is important. Kids (and adults) should realise that computer games aren't important. They are there for entertainment and should be treated as such. As for the type of games, that also depends on the person. Some kids can play most types of games without it affecting them negatively in real life but some are not capable of seperating the two. Although they tend to be the kind of kids who are given computer games as baby sitters.
@stella1989 (2274)
• India
7 Jan 08
Yes you are correct ..!! Every thing is good if its not overdosed..!! Thats what I belive. Playing electronic games is good unless and until its not overdosed..!! I don't clearly remember it but I once read in a news paper ..they made a servey on kids who play lots of video games and those who don't play such games ..it was a kind of practicle .. you know the one who played more video games won that survery...!! Its because they had more good Eye vison to catch the colour difference or ..a imediate change in the screen.. they easily caught the quick reactions Games..It makes your brain a bit fast in catching things fastly and makes your memory good too. Its like a good brain excersise!! But it doesn't mean that you can play video game as much as you want!!:P:P :)
• Canada
7 Jan 08
electonic games, can be as bad as you've heard, that is if you don't monitor the amount of time and the type of games children play. The kids that have parents that use tv,internet and games as babysitters is where it becomes a problem' You can use playing games as a reward. Example allow one hour of play time then if they do something very well then on the weekend allo three hours. Something like that. Just be sure it is monitored and allow your child(encourage)a type of outdoor activity or something like dance, soccer or something along those lines so that your child does not become a couch potato.
1 person likes this
@4000pm (25)
• Morocco
7 Jan 08
what i gotta say is that electronic devices have its advantages and surely its inconvenients. they develop reation and mind but if wa use them too mch that can make us violent , lazy ... no limit of incovenient .
@dania_elm (422)
• United States
6 Jan 08
i dont see a problem with it there are games especially designed with helping children learn like the pixter and leap pad wich my children do have and use playstations and such are good for reflexes and fast thinking my childrens time on them are very limited
1 person likes this
@kellys3ps (3726)
• United States
6 Jan 08
I think it depends on the child. Like anything, electronic devices are bad if they are overused or abused. A child who does nothing but use electronic devices is going to have many problems in life interacting with others. But, there is nothing wrong with a child who uses them for an hour or two a day in addition to other activities.
1 person likes this
@lightningd (1041)
• United States
6 Jan 08
Many of the electronic games have educational game to play. I think if monitored, even the silliest of coordination games can help a child develop hand eye coordination. There are games like brain age, that help with memory for adults even. If you truly want to help your child learn and develop hand eye coordination, I recommend music lessons. Keyboards are not that expensive, and you can controll the volume. There have been studies that show that children who learn to play a musical instrument do better in school. This can also help them with study habits.
1 person likes this
@eden32 (3976)
• United States
6 Jan 08
In limited amounts, and with parents monitoring what games the child has access to I agree that there's no harm in that. You didn't mention how old your daughter is, my son is 5 and just got his first game system. We picked him up one of the older sets from someone who upgraded to a new system. It's my intention to let him use it in 15 minute blocks. Somedays I may let him use it for two blocks of 15, like if it's raining out or if he's not feeling well- but most days 15 minutes is plenty of time for "vegging out" and the rest of his day should be spent actually doing something.
1 person likes this
8 Jan 08
As long as kids arn't playing on electronic toys all day long, i think if they like the games on them and they play a few that help them learn new things its ok for the kids to have them. I was contemplating buying my son one of those "Leapfrog electronic learning books" for his age, but then when i saw the prices of the books i thought twice. It may be a good toy, but i can't see him using it for long and if he wasn't going to use it much it isn't worth it in my opinion. Some of the kids learning games for consoles and hand held consoles are worth it because they help the kids learn and they will play them for longer than other toys. ~Joeys wife
@pumpkinjam (6927)
• United Kingdom
7 Jan 08
I understand why some people think they are bad and, if kids are allowed to play on them all the time then yes, of course they are bad because they won't be doing anything else and it can discourage human interaction. However, if parents don't allow kids to be on these games all the time, then I don't see any reason why they would be so bad. Things have been on the news about kids copying violence that they have seen on the computer games and then the game and the manufaturer get blamed for it when it is the parents who are at fault because they have not taught their child right from wrong and they have allowed a child to fall into a state of not understanding fiction from reality. The educational games can be really good so letting kids play them as an extra activity is great. The problems tend to arise when the games are allowed to become their only activity.