Violent video games like Popular Wars and Fortnite are still getting talked about a lot these days. Kids seem to be drawn to these violent video games, and with a focus on mass killing, we know that this isn’t good for them. Although there are still some monitoring programs that haven’t been taken off the market by industry executives, we are still left to wonder how we help our children understand that the issue is bigger than just an online battle between friends.
If your child plays violent video games, five major things can happen to them.
- Kids experience an increased level of aggression. When kids play violent video games, there’s a part in the brain that fires up the fight or flight instinct. In violent video games, you’re either hunting or being hunted, kicking the brain into fight or flight. For up to 30 minutes after someone stops playing, the brain stays engaged in that mode and can sometimes mean we get the brunt of that energy at home.
- Playing violent video games reduces empathy. Because of the fight or flight I mentioned above, kindness and compassion towards others is reduced during play. The idea that nothing matters because you’re killing people in a game is hard to shake and showing empathy in real life is tricky as it takes time to get back to that empathetic state after playing.
- Interpersonal communication decreases and language becomes more foul when kids play violent video games. Thanks to the chat feature on games, this becomes the chosen method of communication for kids. And, because it isn’t just kids playing these games and chatting, they are exposed to a whole different cultural norm of how they can talk to one another. Curse words become integrated into conversations, which can be a liability with young kids.
- Their nutrition becomes unhealthy. When kids play video games they can overeat convenience foods and drinks (think energy drinks, chips and other prepackaged foods), or they may not be eating at all because they are focused only on playing the game.
- Kids eyesight worsens when they play violent video games. If a child is in front of the screen for too long, they begin to experience convergence issues and their eye muscles get weak, impacting their ability to read and, ultimately, making academics harder.
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