Should you limit your son or daughter’s time in front of a screen? What good comes from Video Games anyway? Doesn’t video games make teens angry?

I am very thankful my parents did not limit my playing video games very often. The only time I recall is when my grades were not as good as they should be. Besides that, I was able to play when I felt like it. I enjoy playing games.

What kind of games? I like multi-player arena shooters (like Halo). It was fun trying to control maps and dominate the game.

Why do I tell you this?

Restricted

While growing up,  I would head to a friends house and they often would have a time limit of playing video games. Or, after so long we would get kicked outside for a little bit. What is so grand about the outside verse the inside? Yes, I can definitely enjoy God’s creation, but I can also enjoy playing a game put together by a human for enjoyment. So, why does outside triumph games? Maybe that is not what was meant, but that is what is conveyed.
My question would be to parents, why do you restrict video game times?

Do Video Games Make People Kill

This is so silly. The answer is no. A video game does not have the power to do so. While it is believed that playing shooters at a young age can cause the young child to be more anger or violent because of the early stages of his/her brain development, this does not cause a human to kill another.
There is a deeper issue at play here. Our culture will blame whatever they can besides the person who commits the crime. The issue is sin. The heart. This is the issue that parents must address besides just focusing on behavior modification.

What About Their Spouse

This is probably the worse argument I have heard. I am sorry if you have used this. However, let’s this about this. The argument is the parent does not think their child’s future spouse will like that they are playing hours of video games a day.
First, you have no idea what their spouse likes. Wonder if their spouse loves playing games too (doubtful, but possible)? Why control something that you have no idea about (who their spouse is)? What would you want your son/daughter to replace it with? Reading? Sports? Board games?
Guess what? Their spouse probably will not like it if they want to read for hours a day once married. Or sports, same idea. Board games? What makes these holier than video games?
Here is the thing, I played about 3-4 hours a day playing Halo. This is how I got really good at it. Here is not the place to talk about if I played too much or not, but here is the point; priorities change once married. I do not read as much as I used to either. I do not play halo as much. My priorities changed.
Well Justin, it would be better to watch a family movie together
 

I am an advocate for family movies, but why is watching a movie more holier than a Video Game? I knew a family who were pretty much against video games, but would watch a few hours of TV/Movies at night. What is the difference, I ask? Both involve staring at a screen. Both are designed to be entertaining. There are people who can be TV/Movie addicts just like there are some Video Game addicts. Are movies and video games wrong in and of themselves? No!

Matter of the Heart

Address the heart. Instead of giving your child a rule (EX. Only one hour a day), talk to your child about the heart. Why does he/she want to play longer? What is it that catches his attention in the game? Does he feel like this game is making him angry, etc. Try to understand your child’s desires/wants.
The heart is what matters instead of just looking at their behavior (playing 2 hours of video games, etc). Seek to understand them.
Sure, limiting time may be a result of addressing their heart. However, from my experience, limiting a child’s time is because the parent does not understand the draw of playing and is fearful that their son/daughter will turn into a zombie or something.
I beg you parents, address the heart of the matter. It is what matters. It is the role of a parent.
-Justin Davito
P.S. If you have any questions, please comment and I will either respond or post a follow up blog post.

Justin is a husband, father, and a writer. He is passionate about equipping parents, glorifying Jesus, and helping the local church. Justin currently resides in Michigan with his wife and daughter.

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