Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020

About 9 out of 10 parents say teens spend too much time on gaming

Washington D.C. , Jan 20 : A University of Michigan research has found that 86 per cent of parents agree to children spending too much time on gaming.

According to the CS Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health, parents reported very different gaming patterns for teen boys than girls.

Twice as many parents said their teen boys played video games every day as compared to parents of teen girls. Teen boys are also more likely to spend three or more hours on gaming.

Overall the survey has revealed that gaming often gets in the way of other aspects of their teen's life such as family activities and interactions (46 per cent), sleep (44 pc), homework (34 pc), friendship with non-gaming peers (33 pc) and extracurricular activities (31 pc).

Mott Poll co-director and Mott paediatrician Gary Freed said "Although many parents believe video games can be good for teens, they also report a number of negative impacts of prolonged gaming. Parents should take a close look at their teen's gaming behaviour and set reasonable limits to reduce harmful impacts on sleep, family and peer relationships and school performance."

However, parents can not always perceive their teens play trends most accurately.

Among parents of daily gamers, 54 per cent report their teen plays three or more hours a day as compared to only 13 per cent of teens that do not play every day. Only 13 per cent of these parents believed that their teens spend more time playing, while 78 per cent believed that their teens play less or more than their peers.

"Many parents of frequent gamers have a misconception that the amount of time their teenager spends playing video games is in line with their peers," said Gary Freed.

Although 71 per cent of parents agreed that video games will positively impact their child, others (44 pc) seek to limit the content of video games.

Parents of 13-15 years of age as compared to older adolescents will be more likely to use rating systems to try and make sure that games are appropriate, encourage their teen to play with friends in person rather than online and to ban gaming in their teen's bedroom.

Parents polled also use different strategies to limit the amount of time their children spend on gaming, including encouraging other activities, setting time limits, providing incentives to limit gaming and hiding gaming equipment.

Freed further noted that while gaming may be a fun activity in moderation, some teens, such as those with attention issues are especially susceptible to the constant positive feedback and the stimulus of video games. This may lead to prolonged play that is disruptive to other elements of a teen's life.

He advised parents to play video games with their children while also communicating healthy limits and ensuring that they have strong privacy settings.

In some situations, he also noted, games can help parents connect with older kids and may occasionally help open the door to other conversations and interactions.

Yet parents should also help teens understand that limits and rules around gaming are tied to safety, health, school and relationships.

Freed said "Parents can play an important role by setting clear rules about appropriate content and how much time is too much time spent on video games. While many parents see benefits in gaming, the activity should not be at the expense of face-to-face time with family, friends, and teachers who play a pivotal role in promoting a teen's learning and healthy development."