Parents who play video games with their children may have a better understanding of how those games affect children, according to a study by researchers from the University of Oxford and Cardiff University published in PeerJ.
The effects of video games on children remains a contested topic. A 2015 American Psychological Association task force report asserted a link between violent video games and aggression. Some studies—including a 2015 study of 200 children—undermine this claim, finding no association between video games and violence. Video games may also affect children’s mental health. A 2016 study found a slight association between video game play and depression and conduct issues.
Should Parents Play Video Games with Kids?
The study involved three trials designed to assess attitudes toward video games. The first study polled 959 men and 1,019 women about their attitudes toward and experience with video games. Attitudes toward video games were more positive among those who played games frequently.
The second study assessed 483 men and 517 women on their attitudes toward video games, including their belief in inaccurate assertions about video games, such as the assumption that games cause mass shootings. That study determined older groups, as well as those with only limited game-play experience, were more likely to have negative views of video games and to endorse inaccurate assertions about games. They were also more likely to believe law should restrict game access.
A third study of 929 men and 987 women assessed experience with video games, but also asked about the participants’ status as parents. Researchers asked parents if they played video games with their children and how they believed video games affected their children.
The study’s authors say their results point to the ways inexperience can contribute to bias in perceptions of gaming.
Video Game Recommendations
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) still recommends no “screen time” in front of televisions or digital media for children under age 2. For older children, the organization no longer proposes a hard limit on screen time. Instead, it suggests parental involvement matters, parents should evaluate the content of the media their children consume, and children need limits to prevent technology from interfering with other activities. The AAP also points to the importance of other activities, such as outdoor time and reading, and encourages parents to establish “screen-free zones.”
- Media and children. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/pages/media-and-children.aspx
- Parents know best about effects of video games on children (2016, April 12). Retrieved from http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-04-parents-effects-video-games-children.html
- Przybylski, A. K., & Weinstein, N. (2016). How we see electronic games. PeerJ,4. doi:10.7717/peerj.1931
- Shapiro, J. (2015, September 30). The American Academy of Pediatrics just changed their guidelines on kids and screen time. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanshapiro/2015/09/30/the-american-academy-of-pediatrics-just-changed-their-guidelines-on-kids-and-screen-time/#5d4e61d7137c
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