Video games can provide a great opportunity to relax and unwind at the end of a busy day. But when are video games not fun anymore? They can become a problem when your kids play them nonstop or when they play games that are too mature for them.
Too much gameplay can lead to children falling behind in school or losing sleep. Further, if they’re playing all the time, children are more likely to access games that are not age-appropriate. To combat these issues, you can use a service like Limit Launcher and set appropriate limits.
If you’d like to learn more about how to help your child or teen develop healthy gaming habits, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ll break down how too many video games and video games that are not age-appropriate can negatively affect a young person. Then we’ll provide you with resources to help your child or teen learn to manage their gaming time.
Almost everyone agrees that kids today spend too much time playing video games. In fact, according to a poll by the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, 86% of parents believe their children play video games way too much. But how much time is exactly too much time playing video games?
While the American Academy of Pediatrics does recommend average times that are healthy for most children, what’s good for one person may not be for another. The amount of time that is healthy for gaming depends on your child’s situation and age. Below are a few of the warning signs that your child is playing a little too much:
- They seem tired all the time: Anyone who has preteens or teenagers can tell you that helping them get into good sleeping habits can be tricky. Often kids will game all night and go to school the next day exhausted. If your child has been gaming heavily and seems like they could use a few Zs, it’s a sign that they’re playing too much.
- School begins to suffer: There is evidence that healthy gaming can increase a person’s problem-solving skills and reaction time because of all the problem-solving involved in modern video games. Still, if your child is playing too much, then they may not be finishing all of their school work, and their grades will suffer anyway. Being able to set aside time for them to play can allow them the benefits of gaming without it becoming a monkey on their back.
- They lose interest in other activities: If you have a child who is normally highly active in after-school clubs or sports but seems to be losing interest and spending more and more time in front of the computer, they are probably playing too much.
One of the benefits of setting aside a specific time for your child’s gaming is that it makes it easier to be aware of what games they are playing. Video games aren’t just for kids anymore–if they ever were–and it’s important to check the ratings on your children’s games.
The rating is generally printed on the bottom corner of the front cover, with the details behind why on the back. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) divides games into the following ratings:
|RP||Rating Pending: Often, you’ll find this rating on game demos. This just means that ESRB hasn’t yet settled on a rating for the game.|
|eC||Early Childhood: These games are for very young children. Often they’re educational.|
|E||Everyone: These are games that children of all ages can enjoy.|
|E 10+||Everyone 10+: As the name implies, these are games for kids who are ten and up. Many of these games are targeted at preteens and general audiences.|
|T||Teen: These games are usually safe for kids thirteen and up. They have more graphic violence than the E-rated games but don’t get too realistic.|
|M||Mature: These games have far more graphic violence than the T or E-rated ones and sometimes even have sexual themes or deal with drug use. It’s recommended that children don’t play these games till they’re 17.|
Maintaining healthy gaming habits will become easier and easier for your kids until it’s just second nature. Still, to do that, you have to have some kind of idea of what healthy gaming looks like.
- Monitor the amount of time they are playing: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it’s healthy for children over the age of six to play video games for 2 hours on weekends and half an hour to an hour on school nights. If they’re under six, that time should be cut in half.
- Be aware of video game addiction: While video game addiction still isn’t in the DSM5, one to ten percent of gamers claim that they have issues with compulsive gaming. Making sure your kids understand that too much screen time can have these kinds of consequences can help them be on board with developing better habits.
- On special occasions when they do play longer, it’s a good idea to take breaks. Your eyes and your thumbs will thank you.
- Ensure they’re playing age appropriate games. Games are rated the way they are for a reason. For example, a horror-based game is likely to give young children nightmares, whereas it’s likely to be a fun thrill for an adult.
- If gaming starts to interfere with school, cut back for a while. School can be challenging for kids and it can require their full attention to master. If you notice that their school work is suffering, it might be time to sit down and make a new plan for when they play video games.
There are many different services and tools available if you’d like to help your child or teen manage their gaming time. One of the best available today is Limit Launcher. With Limit Launcher you can:
- Set a time limit: Limit Launcher gives you the ability to preset time limits, so your child or teen knows exactly how much time they have to game.
- See when your child was last using the computer for gaming: Limit Launcher even helps you make sure that your kids aren’t sneaking on and finding a way around the system, as it reports the last time your child was able to game.
- Turn off the ability to game: If your child needs a long break to get back on track in school, you can use Limit Launcher to avoid having to move your computer or unplug the router. Limit Launcher has the unique ability to only switch off gaming without affecting the computer’s normal functions so that it can continue being used for school work.
Limit Launcher is available through the Google Play and Apple App Store and provides a three different options when it comes to pricing. If you want to help your child learn healthy gaming habits, your journey starts here.
Video games are great for helping your child unwind and learn problem-solving skills, but they can become a problem if they’re overused. Video game addiction is on the rise in both children and adults, so it is really important that we help teach our kids how to manage their playing in a healthy way.
Limit Launcher is just the tool to do that. If you’d like to set clear limits on how long your child can play each day and have a greater ability to monitor when they are playing, our service makes it easy!