Video games are now observed to be a necessary part of teens’ lives. Particularly, boys are using these online gaming platforms for many other things than just gaming; they are making friendships and meeting strangers through these platforms. Research has declared that almost 72% of all teens are playing video games on the computers, portable devices like cellphones, or consoles.
Since the use of the internet and gaming has taken an edge in the past decade, the technology for playing the games online had to emerge. Now kids can stay in one place, surf the internet, play games, talk to strangers, and make new friends. But this has made the parents worried about their safety. Parents have started to think that they need a parental control app to control this.
It has been studied that more than half of the teens make friends online and a third of them (almost 36%) said that they have made new friends and have met them through online gaming. Nearly 23% of teens reported that they have handed over personal information to friends cum strangers on these platforms.
Along with making friends, online gaming is also involved in changing the mindset of kids and adding unusual things in their personalities. Teens are seen to be changing a lot because of their addiction to online gaming. Also, they put themselves in danger too. Let’s see how online gaming is dangerous for your teens:
One of the most prominent and visible effects of playing online games is the increased aggression in teens. You might have observed that they become aggressive with their friends while playing the game and they use the same behavior in the home as well.
A comprehensive meta-analysis was conducted with more than 100 research papers and it showed that being exposed to violent games can increase aggressive behavior among online users. Also, it makes them less social and ruder.
Poor Academic Performance
When will teens find the time and focus to study when they are indulged in online gaming all the time? When they play video games for long hours, it affects their study time. Studies have been conducted in this area and they have proved that long hours of video gaming are significantly associated with lower academic performance.
A survey about online gaming reported that 47% of heavy online game players have poor grades, and those who play for less time have better grades.
Addiction to Gaming
Addiction of any sort is dangerous for teens’ mental health. A term ‘pathological gaming’ has been coined for it, but it has yet not included in the standard diagnostic model. Experts have been considering pathological gaming a medical issue as it is affecting teens’ mental and physical health.
These gamers are more likely to develop insomnia, social isolation, anxiety, and depression. When they get so much addicted to gaming, they hardly find time to do anything else. As time goes on, their mental status is wired in such a way that they feel alone when they step out in the real world.
Once the depression kicks in, it can initiate other issues as well that might result in some serious mental disorder. Since the child doesn’t find the proper guidance or the treatment, they keep on playing games for distraction.
This has become a new trend where teens find new friends over online gaming platforms. They discuss things while playing games, and some even share their personal information too. These strangers can include predators as well. So, kids often end up being exposed to a predator without their knowledge.
Physical Health Is Disturbed
If you have a kid who loves playing online games, you might have seen that he has no interest in food. Moreover, they hardly play any outdoor games anymore and thus there is no physical exercise. With physical exercise, the risk of obesity is increased and with it, a lot of other issues are welcomed.
Also, the constant exposure to the screen can affect their eyesight. When they have dinner, they don’t know what they are eating, they lose their concentration over other things and it affects their physical health so much.
Excess of Everything Is Bad
Online gaming becomes worse when kids are left unguided to do whatever they wish to do. There have been researches that have proved that online gaming provides a number of benefits as well. It improves children’s cognitive skills such as attention span, memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and much more. Also, it is observed that it improves hand and eye coordination especially when they play shooting games. Some games require skills to be successful and kids develop these skills.
Also, online gaming improves their thinking skills as they deal with the changes happening in the game so quickly. Their motor skills are improved as they move their hands over keyboard and mouse in coordination and with accuracy. Their decision skills are improved when they play games where it is required to make the correct decision at the moment.
If there are so many benefits, then how come online gaming becomes dangerous? It becomes dangerous because of the unguided access to it for long periods. When parents don’t look after their kids’ activities and leave them unguided, things start becoming difficult.
What Should Parents Do?
First of all, parents need to monitor all their activities and moods. See what is changed in their behavior every day and how frequently it is changing. Parents should limit screen time as well to make sure they are not addicted to their phones and computers. Parents can use parental control apps to make sure their screen time is limited. Also, with these parental control apps, they can monitor their phones and online activities. This helps them in knowing what is going on with their kids and how they can handle that.
Also, education is the key. Educate them about the hazardous effects of long hours of online gaming. Teach them about their privacy settings and how they shouldn’t share their personal information with any stranger. Teaching them and putting some of the restrictions can make the process easier.