Many parents call me with the concern that their child is spending way too much time playing video games, whether it be Call of Duty, Minecraft, Fortnite or whatever the rage is at the moment.
And yes, if you find your child’s excessive playing is affecting responsibilities, social life and/or school work, then I definitely do recommend creating some kind of time limits to ensure your child is engaging in the world.
But, I would never suggest video games are all bad. In fact, I find that video games can help your child tremendously, especially if your child is experiencing stress, anxiety or is going through a difficult time. And yes, most parents are shocked when I say this, but let me offer you a perspective from someone who teaches kids how to love life and be happy.
As a parent, you may have a hard time relating to video games since your generation grew up very differently. For you, it was common to play outside, play with friends or just play with rocks (joke!). It took little to entertain you as a kid and as a result you felt you were more engaged in the world. And you are correct, you probably were. But that’s NOT the same world your kids are living in today. And that’s a very good thing.
Today’s world is about technology and progression. Today’s children are living proof of these advancements, as they know how to navigate an IPHONE or IPAD before even learning to walk or talk. It’s as if the kids of this new generation were born ready and willing to embrace all of what technology has to offer. This is very different compared to our generation of the Rubik’s cube, Lite Brite and if you were more advanced, Atari (another joke!).
And this is in addition to all the social media stuff (Instagram, Snapchat) as well as the constant noise in your child’s mind from social pressures, self-criticism, perfectionism, anxiety and the list goes on.
But children, who innately know the power of their minds and the need to “turn it off,” will often look to video games as an outlet. And that is not a bad thing.
Video games can allow children to shut their minds off from the daily stresses of life or negative thinking that can contribute to stress and anxiety. Just as there are many other creative outlets, including reading, coloring, listening to music, playing an instrument, baking and even meditation, video games can be a helpful distraction if that is what your child prefers.
Each child is unique and will gravitate to the creative outlet that works best for him or her. If part of that outlet for your child includes moderate video gaming, then “let the games begin!”
Connie Henriquez is a Teen Life Coach who has a private coaching practice located in Woodbury, New York where she teaches kids & teens how to overcome anxiety, self-doubt and improve their self-esteem in as little as 30 days utilizing her signature Start Loving Life® “positive psychology” coaching system. For more information on how your child can start loving life®…call (516) 340-0378