Educational Editorial: Beware of video games

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - With school out, the proverbial question to students and parents is "What are you going to do this summer?" For many, whether stated or not, the answer is "play video games."

I am fascinated with technology. I even carry two phones. At times I say that it is to call myself when times are tough and say "hang in there." Of course I do not answer because I am on the other phone. Latter though, I pick up the call and hear a reassurance from myself!

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, on any day 30% of all young people between ages 2 and 18 will be on a video game for more than an hour. Of those in grades 7 through 12, 55% play video games alone, 36% with siblings or peers, and 2% with parents. Young people spend far more time playing video games than watching television.

While content is critical, a researcher testifying before the US Senate indicated that playing violent games had accounted for a significant increase in the violent behavior of adolescents. A Stanford School of Medicine study found that reducing the exposure to less seven hours a week decreased the verbal aggression by 50% and physical aggression by 40% among 3rd and 4th graders.

With the complexity, creativity, and convenience of digital gaming, young people are not the only targets of fascination or addition. And, there are many positive applications, but this summer....try going to the park, visit the Children's Museum, walk in the woods, play ball, create games, or simply run around in the yard. If your children play video games, play with them...and if they scare you, throw them in the trashcan no matter what they may have cost.

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