Opinion: Why adults don’t like video games

BALANCING ACT: Parents need to monitor the kinds of video games their kids play.
BALANCING ACT: Parents need to monitor the kinds of video games their kids play.

Parents and children can have different ideas when it comes to video games.

Children like video games because they are fun and because they can be challenging.

You have to solve problems, work out the best moves for your character, and decide how to use your equipment and supplies in the best possible way.

Making all these decisions can be exciting.

Parents want to make sure that their children are safe and healthy. Because of this, they notice different things about video games.

Many worry that playing video games might have a bad effect on the way their child behaves.

For example, if a video game has lots of fighting in it, they worry that playing it will encourage their child to be violent.

They are concerned that their child might always choose to play a video game instead of playing outside and getting exercise.

Even though you sit still when you read a book, they know that kids can develop good reading skills and learn a lot.

Many adults aren't so sure that kids can learn anything educational from video games.

Sometimes adults think that spending too much time with animated characters is unhealthy for kids.

They know it's important for kids to spend time with "real" people and learn good social skills needed for the real world.

Experts think playing video games can have good and bad effects on kids. The good news is that the latest research shows that there are lots of benefits from playing the right kind of video games. Minecraft is a perfect example of that.

One good thing is the video games that children play today often encourage them to work in teams, co-operate, and to help each other. This is because games today are often designed for multiple players, not like old-fashioned video games of our childhood that were mostly designed for one player. 

However, children who are obsessed with video games and play them for a long time can get really competitive and can often try to win at all costs.

Experts aren't sure yet, but they have real concerns that this might lead to kids acting like this in real life too.

One thing you also might like to know is that kids who regularly play video games often get higher grades in maths, science, and reading tests.

This is because games require players to solve puzzles. You won't get higher marks playing any video games, just those that require the player to solve these kinds of puzzles.

It's important for kids to think about what types of games they pick. They should choose games where you need to solve puzzles. These are fun and can also help with schoolwork.

Think about whether the fighting games they play are affecting how they play with their friends in real life.

If they are, you might want to encourage your children to change the games they play.

Parents could also ask to play a problem-solving video game with their children. This will help you to see that video games are not all bad.

It's also important that kids and adults don't spend too much time using a screen.

Parents need to set an example for their children by not being obsessed with screen time themselves when they could be spending time outdoors with their family and on real-life social interaction.

That means kids not spending all their time on technology, and parents not constantly checking their phone, or turning to their iPad or laptop at every opportunity.

What we want to aim for is adults and kids who can spend some of their time on their screens, but can also enjoy other kinds of interests as well as spending plenty of all-important quality time with family and friends.

Professor Joanne Orlando

School of Education

Western Sydney University