A recent BBC headline caught my eye.
We have a Playstation and both boys play on it (7 and 4) they have age appropriate games that they play together such as Disney Infinity and my older son will play more complicated games such as FIFA with James. We very rarely let them have any time on it during the week and limit their time at the weekend. They can’t access online forums and I’m happy with their usage at home.
As a teacher I have seen the effects of playing violent games on young children. The extra rough playground games with use of violent language that a 5/6 year old shouldn’t know and gets them into trouble. (I’m a year one teacher) The effects it has on children who are allowed to play games all evening after school till late at night. Making them tired and unable to concentrate and learn the next day.
I want to keep my boys as sheltered as possible for as long as I can. There will be plenty of time for them to play more grown up games when they are older if they choose to. Having studied Psychology at University I am all to aware of the damage that can be done seeing the kind of level of violence and sexual behaviour that is in some of these games. There have been many studies done, showing a link between playing violent video games and increased aggressive behaviour.
Then there is the concern that it teaches your child no morals. You shoot someone, nothing happens, you don’t go to jail, you get extra points. Young teenagers are particularly at risk and playing these types of games at such an impressionable age can have impacts on areas of their life such as self control and relationships. These games glorify gang culture, celebrate brutality and trivialise violence towards women. Not things that I want my boys to think are ok.
Is it neglect letting your child play these games when they are too young? In my eyes yes it is a form of neglect. You are neglecting their social and emotional needs. You are putting them at risk psychologically. You are putting them at risk educationally. Would you take your child to a nightclub? Let them see a fight? Or let them play with weapons?
Should it carry a prison sentence? That I’m unsure of. I’ve seen and reported some awful cases of neglect that I think truly deserve punishment. With this topic I think parents need educating. Educating about the content of these games and the risk they are putting their children at by letting them play it.
Is the School right to send out the letters? Absolutely! Teacher’s and those in a position of care are even more under pressure now, facing prison sentences to make sure they report anything they think is neglect.
Bring back the days when kids were kids playing Tetris, Mario and Kirby’s Dreamland!
What do you think?