Addictive Computer Games

Children spend much of their time playing computer games instead of playing outside for many different reasons. Much has to do with the child’s interests, and some of it is due to parental influences or preferences. Here are some common reasons children are not playing outside as much as they used to.

Interests and Addictions

Kids can develop computer and game addictions in much the same way adults do. With the vast array of games each child has access to, there is always something new, exciting, and challenging to be conquered. These kids challenge themselves and each other to see who can “beat” the latest offering. Other children are, by definition, addicted to gaming. They ignore social interaction and other pursuits in favor of playing computer games. Too much gaming can have adverse health effects on a child, like weight gain, eye strain and muscle tension. Children need to run and play (exercise) for optimal health and well-being.

Boredom

Since the advent of the technology age, kids today have evolved beyond the backyard antics as a way of relaxation and fun. They have computers, gaming units, high speed internet,  stereo systems, and multiple television sets in most homes. The children of previous generations did not have access to this new technology, certainly not to the same degree that children today do. In short, swing sets and ball tossing just does not hold the same allure for many of today’s children.

Stranger Danger

Like it or not, we do live in dangerous and scary times. No matter where you live, there is always some maniac on the loose somewhere. We have all read of children kidnapped from their own homes, their playgrounds, and their schools with far too much regularity. Unless the child can be properly supervised, many parents are just too reluctant (and smart) to take that chance. Other children may be “latch key kids” and it just safer and easier to have them at home behind locked doors than it is to have them running free outside.

Parental Restrictions

Some parents are too busy or too distracted themselves to offer the supervision and companionship of playing backyard games with the kids. Many parents have full time jobs and other responsibilities that curtail the amount of free time they have to spend on daily leisure activity. While this may be sad, it is true for many families nonetheless.

For those children who play computer games as a way to amuse and entertain themselves, there is nothing wrong with that. Those children who are frequently home alone without parents or siblings are not hurting anything or anyone by playing games for amusement. However, when the gaming behavior becomes addictive, the parent(s) should step in and seek intervention or professional help for the child.