Increased Video Game Usage Can Stunt Kids’ Social Growth

Free time used to be outdoor play time. Now more and more kids are spending their free afternoons indoors playing various video games. The lack of social interaction with others can affect your kids.

How long do your kids play video games? Gaming consoles have replaced the television and social interaction for some kids. They are more at home in the make-believe world of the video game than with others their own age. How can you as a parent change that for your kids?

Growing up is hard for kids even at the best of times. When you hit puberty, you feel like a stranger in your own skin. As an outlet, kids find activities that make them feel less tense. In the world of video games, they can be whoever they want to be. If they make a mistake or take a wrong turn, it can be done over as many times as they need in order to get it right.

The real world is not the same. Video games are a fun distraction but are not meant to replace social interaction with peers. The more time that is devoted to video games, the less time there will be to cultivate those social skills that make kids feel awkward with one another in the first place.

Watch the amount of time that your kids spend playing video games. For boys, it seems that playing video games is a way into the “inner sanctum” of camaraderie. They discuss video game graphics, strategies and scores as a way to begin a conversation and get to know each other. To them, video games are the cool thing to do.

To that end, you can find a happy medium with a daily limit on video game time. Place the gaming console in the family room where it can only be accessed at certain times. You can also monitor the types of video games they are playing especially when their friends bring games over.

Kids need more in their lives than video games. Talking about video games can be a conversation starter but so can other subjects like the latest fashions, the opposite sex (they are at that age) and weekend plans.

How do you know if video games are becoming a problem? Does your kid come home and head straight for the video game system? When their friends come over, would they rather play video games than go outside? Do their friends even come over?

Take stock of your child’s behavior. If they are spending too much time in the world of fast cars, monster aliens and dragons, maybe it’s time to get them to mingle with some real people. Everyone even kids need to share their lives with other people who can talk back to them. Limit video game and encourage more social interaction.

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