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Kid Gamers: The Zombies of the Future
We have all seen it, the open-mouthed, glazed zombified look that our children get when immersed in a computer or video game. We have all heard the "awww mom, just one more level" or "awww mom, I have to finish this before I can do anything else." Over the years kid gamers have become more and more mainstream and children are spending less and less time on other activities. Now we are faced with the fact that our children are becoming little kid zombies and that their mental and physical health may be suffering as well. There are many pros and cons to computer and video games; you just have to decide if the good outweighs the bad.
Video Games and Violence
Video game playing has been linked to school shootings and other violent acts for years now. Many computer and video games have not only suggestive themes but blood and gore as well. Games like Grand Theft Auto and Saint's Row are said to breed violence and although they have age appropriate labeling, you can't always be sure that your children are following these suggestions. As recently as 2011, studies suggested that children who play these violent games become immune to the guts and gore, and became more prone to violent behavior. However, the question still remains, are computer games responsible for school shootings and increased violence in the school system? Are these video games turning our children into future zombies that do nothing but sit on the couch all day long, never go outside and are likely to go out and murder someone between levels?
Pros of Video Gaming
Experts have said that video and computer gaming can give a child's brain a real workout. Therefore, while your child is sitting on the couch looking like a kid zombie out of the old horror classic "Night of the Living Dead," he may actually be learning something. Some video games have been said to require a high level of thinking in order to not only win the game but to make it past certain levels. Mental skills that are said to be learned in video game playing include following instructions, problem solving and logic, hand and eye coordination, and fine motor and spatial skills. For example, many of the shooting games require the kid gamer to keep track of the character in the game while they are running and then judge the speed and distance before shooting the target.
This is only one example of how the shooting games, strategy games and even hidden object games can teach your child things that aren't even being taught in the school systems today.
Video games also introduce your child to the world of the Internet and technology. This is something that is important as everyone knows computers are the world's future.
Believe it or not, you can use computer and video games as a bonding experience for you and your child, or your entire family. There are computer games that are geared towards family activities and systems like the Wii have options where many people can play at once.
Video gaming can teach a child as well. Computer gaming sites and company's like V-tech make many video and computer games that are geared towards furthering a child's education.
Cons of Video Gaming
As with anything that is fun and even thought to be educational at times, you have to look at not only the pros but the cons as well. While computer and video games may be helping your child, the concept of them becoming kid zombies is very real. While they won't be shuffling through the streets attacking innocent people, there are some concerns that need to be addressed.
Video games causing violence in children and young adults is the number one concern that parents are facing at the moment.
Playing video games excessively can cause your child to become socially isolated. In many cases, the need to beat the game has interfered with homework, reading, sports, and spending time with the child's friends and family.
There are video and computer games on the market today that can teach children the wrong moral values. Women are portrayed as weak in many of them and players are often awarded for doing violent things.
Games have been known to confuse children's minds, making it hard for them to tell the difference between the real world and the fantasy world they spend so much time in.
Kid zombies or "video addicts" as they are sometimes called have been rumored to have poor grades, more problems with their peers and get into frequent fights with teachers and other educational professionals in the school system.
Gamer health is also a major concern for the future zombies of the world. Since children spend less time outside when they are playing these games, there have been concerns over increasing obesity, carpal tunnel syndrome, and video induced seizures, among other health concerns.
What can you do?
While many parents go to the extreme and try to cut video games out of their children's lives altogether, many parents go the other way and let them play too much. The trick is to reach a compromise that you both can live with. A rewards system is a great place to start. For example, a new video game could be offered for a good report card, cleaning their room could be rewarded with 30 minutes of game time.
As long as your children are getting their chores done, get plenty of exercise and you let them play only for a certain amount of time a day you shouldn't have to worry about them becoming kid zombies and spending the rest of their lives chained to the couch in front of the XBox 360, PS3, Wii, Mobile phone or other gaming devices.