As the holidays draw near, kids across America will be telling their parents they've just gotta have a PlayStation 3, XBox 360, Wiii or the latest, hottest game. Even with the economy in crises, rest assured these items will be sailing off the shelves. A recent study, however, might give parent's a moment to pause and think before they buy.
The study, conducted by Iowa State University's Center for The Study of Violence followed both American and Japanese kids between the ages of 9 and 18 over a period of 3 – 6 months. What researchers found was that there was a causal link between aggression in this group and exposure to violent video games. They tracked this group over the course of a school year and found that those kids who were playing and exposed to violent video games at the beginning of the year had higher levels of aggression throughout the year.
I completely agree that those games whose objective is to kill people are not at all suitable for kids. But, not only are there many appropriate games out there for kids but playing video games as a family is an opportunity to bond. Our kids are growing up in a cyber world. What we as parents need to understand is that the idea of family game night is no longer just a traditional board game. Mom and Dad both need to find out more about their kid's gaming world. It's the best way to not only interact and spend some time with their kids but to really understand just what they're spending their time on. Systems such as the Wii and Wii Fit not only have great games that the entire family can play but they also get you up and moving (I personally have done boxing and tennis for a great workout with my son.) And Guitar Hero is something that adults might sneak out at a party to enjoy as well!
The key is to find the most suitable games for your child. A good place to start is on the back of the game box. Look for the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) code which rates each game on maturity level. You can visit their site, www.esrb.com to learn more about the rating system. And, just like with the computer, keep video game consoles in the family room where you can check in on the action at any time.