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Video Games and Children: What You Need to Know

Most kids spend two hours a day gaming. Here are the effect of video games, both the perks and pitfalls.
 

Learning Benefits

Perks

Kids who play for an hour a day become faster thinkers: They tune out distractions more easily and make speedier, more accurate decisions.

Gamers must learn to track multiple objects in a cluttered field with a range of colors. The result: sharper vision.

All that fast-paced toggling between buttons and control pads improves hand-eye coordination, great for playing both sports and instruments.

Pitfalls

The brain’s “pleasure center” lights up during play, which can be addictive for some kids. Cut back if your child is moody after gaming.

High-vigilance games — the kind where bad things happen if players don’t focus — trigger the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Encourage your kid to try chill games, too.

Too much e-play leads to lower grades, as it cuts into homework time. Limit all screens (TV and devices) to two hours a day.

Sources: Dimitri Christakis, M.D., director, Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Hospital; C. Shawn Green, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Plus:
How to Set Smart Screen Time Rules
The Best Active Video Games for Kids

Photo Credit: Shaun Dreisbach

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