In the 21st century, playing video games is part of being a kid. The majority of children between the ages of 6 and 18 play video games, and they often do for more than 15 hours per week. If you have a young son, your house probably contains more than one video game system.
Boys, especially those in the 9 to 14 age range, often have new video games at the tops of their wish lists. As a parent, you want to make your child happy, and you also want him to fit in. Even if you don’t like gaming very much, you probably don’t want your kid to be the only one of his friends who’s not allowed to play at home.
But when your son wants games that are increasingly violent, where do you draw the line?
The Violence Factor
Playing video games is one thing, but playing video games depicting war and violence is another. There are plenty of people who think that children shouldn’t play video games at all, but most of the controversy centers around what types of games are appropriate for children.
Lots of adult males enjoy video games, and the most violent games are meant for them. But kids are growing up too fast these days, and the violent adult games are the ones that appeal to them. If your kid enjoys violent video games, does this mean he’s violent, or will be when he grows up?
The Experts Don’t Agree
There have been many studies conducted in efforts to determine whether or not violent video games increase a child’s aggression or violent tendencies. These studies are very hard to conduct because they’re so subjective, and there are so many other factors involved in a child’s life. If a child is more aggressive than a peer, who is to say video games was the cause?
Some studies have shown that boys who play war games are more aggressive later in life, but nothing has been quite conclusive enough to assuage the fears of parents or get them to keep war games from their children.
Aggression and Influence
Most experts believe that a child’s level of aggressiveness is affected more by nature than nurture. Some kids are naturally more aggressive than others. War video games can provide an example of violence, but most children are clear on the difference between fantasy and reality. It’s possible that viewing war and violence can desensitize them to violence in real life, even if it doesn’t make them act violently.
What You Can Do?
If you’re worried about war games affecting your child, do not let them play games that are rated above their age level. The ratings are there for a reason. If you do decide to allow your son to play violent games, limit the number of hours he plays and keep an eye on his behavior. If you’re concerned about his level of aggression, it may be a good idea to consult with a professional therapist or doctor.