Dear Caring Parent,

So you wonder about all this video gaming and what it really does to your child.  What a great thing to be thinking about since it’s such a potent force in a families life.

To give you some good, and entertaining, insight into the effects of video gaming, I’ve posted a link at the bottom of the page. It’s to a Ted-X talk. Have fun with a couple of the ‘tests’ the presenter puts listeners through during the talk.

To summarize the video for you, in 18 minutes, Professor Daphne Bavelier clues us in to her research results about some of the effects of video gaming on our lovely human brain as related to:
– vision development
– multi-tasking
– intuition accuracy (‘gut’ feeling)

It’s called cognitive neuroscience research, from her Brain and Learning Bavelier Lab at the University of Geneva.

Because no research covers everything, as you know, in the end what’s good for one kid might not be good for another. You will know which end is up if you watch for the:

  • kind of behavior changes after an hour or two of gaming
  • different kinds of behavior with different kinds of games
  • quality of social interaction outside of gaming

If limits need to be set, and they usually do, stick to the limits you set! But first, check in with yourself about why you are worried. Is it because:

  • there are behavior changes you don’t like?
  • you feel they are too absorbed in the games? A good reality check on this is how would you react if your son/daughter was reading for hours through the night and not wanting to go to school/watching TV for hours….
  • you want them to pay attention to some ‘real’ life things that matter to the household?
  • you overheard others saying really negative things about video gaming?

Maybe you find gaming is just fine for your child.  Maybe not. But if you just react from your worry, you will likely wind up in a power struggle. No fun.  However, if you can take some of the juice out of your worry by acknowledging it to yourself you can then  take the heat out of it when you say, ‘before you get gaming time, the dishes need to be put away’, or, ‘I overheard Mary saying….., what do you think about that?’.  A firm by unheated message will keep the household calmer. Unless of course, there are indeed behavior changes like withdrawal or stubbornness. That’s a whole other blog…

So here’s the video from Daphne Bavelier. It’d be great to hear from you after you watch it.

Your brain on video games

This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED.

Take care now, Natasha
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