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Are Video Games Harmful? Statistics on Video Games Damage to Children

are video games harmful

The debate’s raged for years: are video games harmful to children? Learn the shocking truth from studies on whether video games damage child development.

Imagine a world where chocolate is banned as an unsafe substance that causes adverse health effects and destroys the minds of both children and adults alike.  How would such a world come to this?  It began with the invention of chocolate.  Children loved it and consumed it as a special treat.  Adults loved it because it placated the children when it was eaten and gave the adults some much-needed time to themselves. 

Over time, children began to consume chocolate more regularly.  Adults refused to regulate their children’s chocolate consumption.  Children became obese, they threw chocolate tantrums, and they shook with chocolate cravings.  The government labeled the entire food item as a hazard to human health and the deliciously sweet food known as chocolate was banned forever.

This scenario sounds implausible and probably impossible.  However, this very situation is what is looming over the video game industry.  Parents, once delighted with video games because they offered children a safe alternative to purposelessly roaming the streets, now vilify the video game industry because it is purportedly poisoning the minds of young people. 

The question is, “are video games harmful?”  Are video games inherently evil, causing mayhem and destruction in unsuspecting children?  Or, are adults to blame for allowing an innocent diversion to become an all-consuming habit?

Are Video Games Harmful?

In today’s world, moderation is a principle that is often completely forgotten.  We gorge ourselves on fast food, spend hours in front of the television, drink alcohol to an extreme, and senselessly feed our every craving without a thought for the possible consequences.  The harm in video games lies, not in the video games themselves, but in the blatant refusal of parents to take their children’s lives into their own hands.

Video games, when properly regulated in a child’s life, are no more harmful than books, movies or music.  A video game is a computer program that requires an individual’s input to complete a task.  Video games today are exciting, beautiful and captivating works of art.  They possess the ability to transport a child to a new and fantastical place.  They allow a child to practice problem-solving skills and learn how to solve problems individually.  They expose a child to new places, ideas and images. 

Of course, some video games are entire inappropriate for young children.  Video games designed for older teenagers or young adults often depict frighteningly real images of violence, crime and terror.  Young children should never be allowed to play such games just as they shouldn’t be allowed to watch movies with an “R” rating or read adult-oriented romance novels.  The problem is not the existence of video games.  The problem is lazy parents who refuse to parent.

Are Video Games Safe?

Most video games that are appropriate for young children are completely safe when used correctly and in moderation.  Some video games can even be beneficial to the health and education of children.  Video games that teach children things like math, history, science and reading skills can actually help a child succeed in school.  Video games that require a child to be physically active can improve health.  However, video games are getting blamed for a wide variety of issues in children, including:

  • Childhood Obesity
  • Violence
  • Laziness
  • Poor Performance in School
  • Disrespectful Behavior
  • Poor Sleeping Habits
  • Aggression

While it is true that video games can be a symptom of these problems, they are rarely the cause.  If video games had never been invented, children with uninvolved parents would dedicate their extra time instead to television, movies or other non-stimulating activities.  Children need adults to help them make good choices.  Without good parental intervention, anything could be a hazard to a child’s health: even chocolate.

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