Are Digital Games Safe for Young Children?
Apps and online games can provide children with a sense of independence, as they navigate educational themes and strategies that feel less like learning and more like play.
Whether your kids enjoy playing digital games on your phone or tablet or have a console where video gameplay is common, their safety is every parent’s priority.
While parents explore the healthy benefits of digital games and their content, it is also important to note that determining whether they are safe for young children starts at home.
Here is what parents need to know.
What are the Healthy and Educational Benefits of Playing Digital Games?
Digital games offer more than a distraction for young children. They are more susceptible to learning when digital game content is age-appropriate and fun.
The benefits of children playing age-appropriate digital games include helping them:
- Develop problem-solving skills
- Strengthen cognitive skills
- Improve capacity to think three-dimensionally
- Boost mood, promote relaxation, and reduce anxiety
- Build emotional resilience by learning to cope with losing in video games
- Take their socialization skills from the screen to interact and connect with kids in real life
Digital games provide exciting ways to learn, but also challenge children to grow. As with all apps, online access, and gaming opportunities, parents need to be involved in the process, so safety is paramount with all screen time access.
Mitigating Potentially Unsafe Behaviors Tied to Digital Gameplay
There are multiple ways to help ensure children are safe while playing digital games, no matter what platform they are using.
First, parents can help prevent potential harm by limiting play to age-appropriate digital games.
Once the games are downloaded and in use, it is important to monitor how children are playing the games. Are they following the rules? Are they inappropriately using their characters? Is the game causing frustration or aggression?
When parents play digital games with their children they can understand and supplement the quality of children’s gameplay by directly participating.
Moreover, playing digital games alongside your kids will help build trusting relationships. When parents are approachable, children are more inclined to reach out for help when they have questions or challenges with the game, and how it translates to their day-to-day feelings.
Playing along also allows parents to understand when their kids are struggling with a gaming task, so they can help create a solution.
When it comes to the amount of time kids are playing digital games, the emphasis should not be on the amount of screen time children are engaged in, but on ensuring the time spent on gaming consoles, tablets, or smartphones is valuable.
Digital gameplay in moderation is a safe way for children to develop life skills and productive behavior.