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Concern: When Virtual Violence Becomes Reality
Children and teens who excessively play video games are more likely to act aggressive, confront teachers, and fight with peers.
Tip: Chat About the Content
Talk to your child about the kinds of video games he plays. Ask how he feels about the images and actions in these games and other kinds of media. Share your feelings about what you observe in these games. Use this opportunity to grow closer with your child.
Concern: Reinforcing Rewards for Violence
Video games praise players who engage in violent acts by passing them to the next level. Beating characters in battle is rewarded with more opportunities to combat additional characters.
Tip: Research the Rating
Look up the ratings of the video games your child plays. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rates over 1,000 video games per year. Ratings are based on levels of violence, sex, controversial language and substance abuse. For each game the ESRB gives a recommended age and a content description ranging from Early Childhood (EC) to Adults Only (AO).
Concern: Endless Play Throughout the Day
A study shows that teen girls play video games for an average of 5 hours a week. Boys averaged 13 hours a week of video game play. Many teens admit that their parents do not limit how many hours they play video games.
Tip: Set Time Limits
Limit how long your child plays video games. Also supervise your child's internet use, since many games are available through the computer. Make sure your child completes homework and chores before playing video games.
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Concern: Learning Rage through Repetition
Acts of violence are regularly repeated throughout video games. Frequent video game play may increase a child's aggressive behavior. Even if your child does not act out the violence he plays, violence is unconsciously learned through repeated exposure.
Tip: Keep an Eye On What Your Child Plays
Monitor the kinds of video games your child plays and how often he plays them. Vary the kinds of video games your child plays by gifting educational games and board games for the computer. Do not set up a video game console in your child's bedroom. You can better keep an eye on your child's video game playing in a family space.