I polled opinions from forums of homeschoolers and large families to see their feelings on video game usage, what follows is a synthesis of those opinions which highlighted the possible drawbacks of gaming. Then I show a synthesis of comments regarding possible benefits video games can cultivate.
-Beware the virtual reality effect, which is that people consider that life itself is a program of little importance, and that it is therefore not important to treat others respectfully. Some even take this to the extreme and kill others claiming to be setting them free from the simulation/Matrix/game etc. Some lose the moral compass of fairness in the 1st person mentality, thinking that you can and should do anything and everything to promote your own success and welfare without thinking on the welfare and happiness of others. Elder Bednar gives “an Apostolic warning” about getting too into avatars, virtual realities, and certain cyberspace interactions in an address titled “Things As They Really Are”. In that address, Elder Bednar says “a simulation or model can lead to spiritual impairment and danger if the fidelity is high and the purposes are bad—such as experimenting with actions contrary to God’s commandments or enticing us to think or do things we would not otherwise think or do “because it is only a game.” I raise an apostolic voice of warning about the potentially stifling, suffocating, suppressing, and constraining impact of some kinds of cyberspace interactions and experiences upon our souls. The concerns I raise are not new; they apply equally to other types of media, such as television, movies, and music. But in a cyber world, these challenges are more pervasive and intense. I plead with you to beware of the sense-dulling and spiritually destructive influence of cyberspace technologies that are used to produce high fidelity and that promote degrading and evil purposes. If the adversary cannot entice us to misuse our physical bodies, then one of his most potent tactics is to beguile you and me as embodied spirits to disconnect gradually and physically from things as they really are. In essence, he encourages us to think and act as if we were in our premortal, unembodied state. And, if we let him, he can cunningly employ some aspects of modern technology to accomplish his purposes. Please be careful of becoming so immersed and engrossed in pixels, texting, earbuds, twittering, online social networking, and potentially addictive uses of media and the Internet that you fail to recognize the importance of your physical body and miss the richness of person-to-person communication. Beware of digital displays and data in many forms of computer-mediated interaction that can displace the full range of physical capacity and experience.” (June 2010- Ensign, https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2010/06/things-as-they-really-are?lang=eng). For a documentary on how Hollywood is pushing a doctrine of life being a virtual reality, and some of the consequences of that narrative, see “Hollywood’s War on God” by Good Fight Ministries (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC7jYfL2Ufc).
-ensure they aren’t losing out on too many social activities replacing them with video games
If you are spending large amounts of time on video games, you might do well to consider whether you’re avoiding something about your real life which is causing you to spend so much time in a virtual one. Life is short, and we can do great things in it, even adventurous things which are real! We need to sharpen our bodies and minds and souls so we can take on challenges in life and become real heroes! As great as it is to be skilled at a game, it doesn’t begin to compare to be skilled at something productive.
Introductory Caution from “For the Strength of Youth” section on entertainment and media, “Satan uses media to deceive you by making what is wrong and evil look normal, humorous, or exciting. He tries to mislead you into thinking that breaking God’s commandments is acceptable and has no negative consequences for you or others. Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable.” (https://www.lds.org/youth/for-the-strength-of-youth/entertainment-and-media?lang=eng)
-Gaming is antisocial, and since interactions with other humans face to face including the touch warmth etc. which is only had in a personal contact, screen time can be very dangerous. Antisocial people gravitate to virtual gaming, and development of the brain and everything else thrives with human contact. Even baby carriers are dangerous because it takes away from time one on one with mother. Read “the connected child” by Karyn Purvis on this. She specializes in working with difficult children.
-overstimulate nervous system in infants/toddlers
-potential to have autism-like symptoms if use too much https://www.madinamerica.com/…/virtual-autism-explain…/
-potential for addiction
-rapid images the little brains can’t handle i.e. before age 3, could if exposed greatly before that age decrease social and language skill
-negatively limit and effect the prefrontal cortex
-kids zone out when on screens
-speaker from BYU who is a research doctor of neuroscience- one of the foremost experts in the field. She talked about the damage that screen time does to the developing brain in terms of physiology, emotional growth and potential for addiction
-too much games and kids can be at a loss as to how to play creatively without them (like how people who use alcohol begin to not be able to have a good time without alcohol (same goes for other drug abuse, pornography use, etc.))
-social media in particular can be a source of much negative peer pressure
-a lack of hands on aspect can decrease learning / long term storage of what is learned
Screens present a lot of sensory output at the same time
-screens can tempt kids to not practice musical instruments, to not do homework etc., so you have to monitor them to make sure they aren’t abusing screens
-screen time potentially correlated with fine motor delay
-may cause ADHD symptoms
-Book: Oestreicher, L. The Pied Pipers of Autism—How TV, Video, and Toys Cause ASD. 2011: Merced
-potentially decrease long term memory
-potentially disrupt sleep time
Video Game Philosophy: Advantages
I pulled opinions from forums of homeschoolers and large families to see their feelings on video game usage, what follows is a synthesis of those opinions which highlighted the possible benefits of gaming. In another essay, I show a synthesis of comments regarding possible disadvantages video games can foster.
Video games can be fun recreation, can help build relationships, and can even build problem solving skills, which are critical to success in any field.
“Childhood is about fun and exploring in a safe environment full of people who care.” -A trusted friend
-video games are fun, and fun is good for its own sake. A wise friend of mine once said on this subject, “To convince yourself they’re good, you don’t need to decide they’ll give your kids a PhD and make them social gurus and improve their reaction time and open their third eye; it suffices that they be fun, engaging, and not evil. ”
-many tout things about video games without ever having played them, or conducted research on them, or familiarizing themselves with the corpus of research on the subject at present
-do what works for your family, some children are more sensitive than others in various sensory and other ways, discern what will help them have a happy fulfilling healthy life. A wise friend of mine once said, “I totally get someone saying, “games have a bad effect on my” or “I don’t like them,” or “I just don’t care to try them”. I’m not OK with someone saying, “no one should play these” unless they have something real solid to back it.”.
-pretend scenarios in gaming, as in fairy tales, can help expand the mind. Albert Einstein said if you want your kids to be smart, tell them fairy tales. If you want them to be super smart, tell them even more fairy tales.
-Many games can be educational in how they creates a fun environment of challenging puzzles. A wise friend once told me, “kids learn best by playing and exploring. It’s great to immerse yourself in a different world, learn its rules, explore its offerings. Sometimes there are puzzles. Almost always, there’s some form of challenge, and working to overcome those is a lot of fun for some people.”
-Some games are better than others. Cheap games requiring little to no thought, but which are addicting in nature, such as Bejeweled, can easily be understood to be harmful, and just filling space instead of bringing real rich enjoyment, etc. There are many ways to release the stress valve in this life, and we can understand that some are better than others. If you or your child has a passionate interest in one of these time-filler time games, see to it that this isn’t all they are spending their time (including their fun time) on. Help them explore deeper joys, expose them to higher ways, and they will by nature gravitate toward that which is more enriching and fulfilling.
-Be involved but not overly controlling of your children’s desire to explore with games. A wise friend told me, “Letting them choose their own activities is best for their fun and sense of independence/confidence/growth–that whole “fun” thing again. But if you aren’t involved at all, you shouldn’t be surprised if they wind up lost. That is true of anything. So if you’re worried, just be involved. Expose them to enough things that they can form their own opinions, or they’ll just latch onto the first thing they’re exposed to. ”
-Amount of time gaming? Limits are good, but not a precise science. Try something and see if it’s too few or too much. And be bold in following those feelings, even if the neighbor kids’ parents place different limits than you do. Culture in the home is sacred, and can easily differ greatly from house to house based on preferences customs and values.
-What should we do about claims of experts, and the differences seen in those claims when it comes to gaming? My brilliant friend again has a comforting measuring rod for this matter. He says, “Experience is everything, and you can never prove the experts right or wrong without trying. Looking for solutions you haven’t experienced anyhow is pretty likely to be wasted effort that you’ll never even realize was wasted. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The only mistakes to fear are permanent ones, and few problems are. The rest let you learn. Don’t stress stuff. Don’t call the plumber asking about all possible ways your home could have problems. When a pipe bursts, call them. Sufficient is the day for the evil therein. Don’t be dumb, but realize you don’t have to think that hard not to be dumb.”
-Interactive play as seen in a video game is better than watching a movie when it comes to relaxing recreation. Further if you have to pull an all-nighter, an interactive game will keep you awake more than a movie would.
-Give brilliant minds puzzles to solve
-Reward kids for all the help they give, may they feel we showered upon them every possible delight, and not that to love next door would have been preferred
-Have something the adults enjoy which they can do with the kids
-give the adults a stress relief
-allow puzzle like games, not brainless flashy ones, and never overtly violent ones
– recent studies show screen time is ok and even beneficial so long as there is balance, that there is also time for outside play and make believe play, time to dissect bugs, time to play sports with other kids, time to go on dates, time to cook with parents, etc.
-those some video game users have unbridled passion for gaming and waste opportunity in life for games, it is also true that those who are taught to bridle their passions in this subject can use the games as a great intellect building tool. Look at the computer scientists, the mathematicians, the physicists which come to us often from the gaming scenario
– in a similar way that books can assist us in building reality and understanding things which are otherwise hard to explain, so can games open the mind to new possibilities.
-PhD speech therapists say screen time research now is saying it’s not bad; many show progress with the use of screens
-recent UK study says should not be limited, but rather should be balanced with other things in life they should be doing
-good for emergencies when mom is sick since interactive is better than movie
-2 hour daily limit says American pediatrics: https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-screen-time-smartphone-tablets-tv-1126-story.html?fbclid=IwAR38GV3fpgWpm4DGJilKoq44QMSCOA21NNrqYMq5v42BHt4y3e2_teh5yqg
-Joseph Richardson was a video game guru, I believe this channeled his intelligence into puzzles, things which his mind could calculate and resolve, challenges which pushed him to use his intellect instead of being so bored that he may have otherwise reverted to getting into trouble.
-a misconception that kids who love technology are lazy
-some of the best careers these days are in technology, and games etc. can help them prepare to work in those fields. For many, technology is their future.
-might consider several days a week which are no screen time days
-video game use may lead to autism symptoms https://www.madinamerica.com/…/virtual-autism-explain…/
-google earth is a great exploration tool app, same with the astronomy exploration apps
-we lose the pieces to games like checkers etc.
-kids see parents using screens, so they should learn to responsibly use them too
-expose kids to it so they can see how to use it righteously, or else when on their own the first thing they will do is get all the pop games, which are bad games.
-when they go to friends’ houses there will be games, they will envy those neighbors. We can show them good vs bad games, so they know to reject the bad and accept the good, so they know that good exists in the game world, this will give them the moral courage to not cave to the bad. It’s like music: knowing good music helps us fill a void and thus takes away the temptation to use bad music
-kids can have both hours of the day playing outside, and hours of screens. They are homeschooled so they have extra time, they can use the gaming for not only peaceful and cooperative fun, but for intellectually stimulating exercises. There is more to games than the “sports” type games, though those can help with strategy too. There are games like Zelda, which are a fun way of doing increasingly difficult puzzles.
-nature and animal national geographic or Smithsonian documentaries on YouTube are great for kids to learn.
-documentaries for the adult are helpful, and the kids may want to watch or listen in
-games can be an incentive to get chores and homework done without having to resort to pumping them full of candy, or yelling at them, or coercing them. It’s positive reinforcement, which means we can avoid frustrated parents and disgruntle children.
-public school students use iPads for writing, reading, gaming, etc.
-Just because you allow technology doesn’t mean that’s ALL they do.
-games can give people a break from each other; they play together all day and can enjoy
-having educational songs in the background they can pick up on much info
-kids with ADHD can have a hard time focusing, the fun aspect of an electronic game can help them focus on completing the puzzle at hand in the game, puzzles which they otherwise would not complete
-keyboarding is a skill that should be taught in our school; frankly the earlier the better on this so they can keep a regular journal, write papers, be organized etc. with their own external hard drive with their files on it which they plug into our computer to do work.
-see what works for your family; fun is good in and of itself; if it becomes a problem, seek a solution, rather than the other way around of “calling a plumber to look for problems”, instead call the plumber when a pipe bursts. “Sufficient is the evil unto the day thereof”
-Kids who are having fun will learn faster than kids not engaged. Kids love screens. Many kids (especially kids with social difficulties like kids with autism) seem to learn certain things better through screens
-many against gaming haven’t played them
-it is well known the playing and exploring are excellent ways for kids to learn; you have that in much of gaming
-almost always games have some sort of challenge; kids can learn that they can do hard things with practice; they can also teach themselves how to figure things out without having to go to someone for help with it is challenging
-some games are meant to be addictive and have an abnormally high flash rate, such as bejeweled. Others such as Zelda are full of real puzzles and can be intellectually stimulating.
-letting kids chose what activities they do for their fun time builds their confidence independence and overall growth, rather than being told what they can and can’t do all the time. Childhood is about fun and exploring in a safe environment full of people who care.
-a parent involved in the child’s gaming can prevent the child from going way to far into them and prevent them from selecting games which are obviously evil
-Expose them to enough things that they can form their own opinions, or they’ll just latch onto the first thing they’re exposed to.
-time limits are a good idea, though not something to fret about being exact about
-the reason kids who play lots of games often become obese is because they snack while playing. If this becomes a problem in your home, you might restrict snacks during gaming, or give healthier snacks for during gaming
-to prevent sleep related issues when it comes to screens, it may be wise to keep all electronic devices in the parents’ bedroom at night if such is a problem in your home
this from statista.com shows average times kids and adults have with screens recently https://www.statista.com/statistics/804161/average-amount-screen-time-children-usa/