Is it fair to ban video games for children?
People can’t get enough of playing video games and immersing themselves in the vast, richly detailed worlds they see on their screens. Even though the game is hugely popular, there have been concerns in recent years about a particular demographic of gamers, namely children. In this article, we will address the debate about video games and children. We will discuss whether it is right to ban video games for children and what measures are currently being taken to protect young people from the potential harm that games can have. First, we’ll look at how video games can be addictive and what effects they can have on kids.
Video game addiction
For most people, playing video games is an enjoyable pastime. For some, however, video games can be harmful. This is mainly due to their addictive nature. The majority of video games, especially newer ones, are designed to be immersive and engaging. They draw a player in and ask them to do all sorts of things: defeat bosses, find treasures, complete tasks, and explore worlds, for example. When you’re playing a video game, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of content it contains and how much you have to do. Many gamers get stuck and spend hours enjoying everything the game has to offer. Some video games take dozens of hours to complete; many of the bigger ones can require over a hundred hours of gameplay before the player is nearly done. It’s easy to get carried away and become addicted when a video game demands so much of you.
It’s not just the huge games with lots to do that can get addicting; faster ones, especially those developed for the mobile sector, can also get people hooked. Mobile games are generally designed for fast play. They are meant to be played on the go, in short, brief sessions, and are designed to be played over and over again.
Casino slots are a great example of the types of games commonly played on phones and tablets. Like other mobile games, they are easily accessible, quick to play, and designed to be played over and over. You spin the reels, and if you don’t win, you spin them again. Many players take advantage of this no deposit bonus codes so they can play slots for free and still have a chance to win real money.
Both short and long games can be addictive. The companies that develop these games want you to keep playing, so they design their games to encourage you to keep playing. The problem is that it’s easy to become addicted, and many people develop problems because they spend too much time gambling. Although excessive video gaming can have negative effects on a person’s mental well-being, it can also adversely affect their physical health.
Negative effects of video game addiction
When children become addicted to video games, there can be many effects and consequences that impact their day-to-day lives. Some of the negatives include:
- Less time spent socializing with other children and family members;
- Less time spent on other activities such as sports and hobbies;
- Inadequate social skills due to lack of mixing with others;
- Lack of concentration, especially at school;
- Poorer results in school subjects;
- Not getting enough sleep and having trouble sleeping;
- Less exercise, which can lead to weight gain;
- Become sullen or even aggressive;
- Change in physical appearance.
In severe cases, video game addiction can lead to health problems and conditions such as depression, exhaustion, and dehydration.
Positive effects of playing video games
After listing some of the negative effects that video game addiction can cause, it is important to point out that not all games are bad. There are many positives associated with play, and it can benefit a child’s development in many ways. Here are some of the positive effects associated with video games:
- Increased hand-eye coordination;
- Improved logic and problem-solving skills;
- Faster decision making;
- More able to multi-task;
- Greater attention to detail;
- Better brain function.
Video games can be stimulating, especially for young children who are still growing and discovering the world around them. They can promote all sorts of positive forms of brain activity and can improve a child’s ability to interpret information and act on it.
Why are prohibitions discussed?
Video games aimed at children were not banned as such. Rather, it is the game itself that has been banned. Even though video games can have some benefits for young people, the negative side effects can be too problematic and destructive. Activists raise negative points and propose bans so that children are not at risk of becoming addicted and developing other problems as a result. Some people think that children should have more experiences in the real world. Nowadays, it is common for children to spend several hours a day staring at screens. They have access to:
- smart phones;
- home computers;
- Devices at school.
And more. It is very easy for children to spend hours glued to the screen. After all, these devices provide countless hours of entertainment. Proponents of a ban on video games for children want children to spend more time away from screens, engaging with the real world around them. They want kids to socialize with others in real life, not through devices, and spend time outdoors running and playing. In other words, they want kids to be kids.
Bans already in place
China has taken action against the supposedly toxic nature of video games and enforced limits on how many under 18s can play. In a bid to protect children’s health and prevent poor school performance, the country limits under-18s to three hours of play per week. Video game companies are only allowed to offer their services to minors between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. They can also do it on holidays.
In China, you can only access games on the Internet if you use a real-name verification system. This means that to play online multiplayer games you must submit your name and age to prove who you are; government-issued ID is also required with this system in place, and China’s ability to prevent those registered as under 18 from playing on the internet outside of set one-hour periods. Since this rule only applies to online games, children can, in theory, play non-internet-based games as much as they want.
South Korea introduced a restriction on video games for children in November 2011. This was enforced as part of an effort to curb addiction. It appears to have been a success, as it was lifted in August 2021. While it was in place, anyone 16 and under was banned from playing online games between midnight and 6 a.m. In 2014, parents were able to apply for an exemption for their children.
Bans only go so far
The two groups we have mentioned will undoubtedly have had positive effects on the children they have reached. These prohibitions have been put in place in the best interests of children. Although they may seem authoritarian, they are meant to help the younger generation and keep them away from addiction. Bans go no further and they have limits. The South Korean ban, for example, did not affect console or mobile games. Therefore, children could always play on their console or phone as much as they wanted, without any limits. The China The ban encouraged many young people to circumvent it by paying adults to use their accounts. Many children have replaced the time they spent playing by watching others play video games.
Some children may have benefited from bans and may have replaced their games with other activities. The problem with bans is that they don’t affect everyone in the intended way. Moreover, there are many children who are sensitive to their play and do not overdo it, and these children end up being punished; they see their hours reduced and restricted, even though they are not dependent in any way.
As we discussed, the bans have focused on preventing children from playing video games; they didn’t talk about banning kid-friendly games. But could these games be banned? It is very unlikely. A government, as the examples in China and South Korea show, is more likely to enact a blanket ban on games, rather than ordering companies not to make games aimed at a certain age group.
Most kids reasonably play video games without any serious issues. There will always be those who eventually become addicted and need help. The majority shouldn’t have to suffer because of a minority of players who suffer. As long as most kids play video games the right way and the games don’t affect them, there shouldn’t be any bans at all.