Gaming is often mentioned in the same breath with addiction and square eyes. For adults playing addicting games such as “free coin master spins“, it has the same impact. But, experts say, 9 out of 10 times, it is not at all bad to immerse yourself (as a child) in a computer game for three hours. The idea that gaming is a bad thing and that it always has negative consequences for your child’s development, in any area, is quite ingrained. With every new season of a hit game, messages are flying around your ears about addicted teens who are only building a fight at home because they insist on gaming.
Let them do their thing
Because every new season of, say, Fortnite, the kids are completely hyper, there is a continuous battle at home, a lot of arguments, parents feel that they have lost their child and they have to do all kinds of art and flying work to get their child from keep away from the display. This negative approach to gaming is not always justified. Experts say there are numerous reasons to let your child loose on the video game console.
They like it
The all, all, all important reason, says Harry Hol. He is affiliated with Bureau Jeugd & Media and gives lectures and workshops on gaming. “Of course they also learn something from it, but the main reason is that children enjoy computer games. They also watch the Smurfs for fun. When we follow the series ’24’ on Netflix, we don’t do that for the US police either. to get to know better, but to relax. ”
It teaches them something
“What I notice best is that gaming improves my responsiveness,” says Mathia Koolhout (28). She’s been gaming for as long as she can remember. She has more than 42 thousand followers on the game streaming platform Twitch. “If I have a tennis match in the evening, I play a shooting game for it. That way I am sharper on the net.” Her English has also improved through gaming, says Koolhout. Harry Hol agrees. “When I ask children what they learn from gaming, they often answer that their language skills have improved, especially English.”
It’s a risk-free way to try new things
“Playing a game is a safe way for a child to experiment with certain roles. Even with games that involve shooting or stealing,” says Harry Hol. “If your child plays the bad guy in a computer game, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is or will be a mean person.”
It is an important part of their social lives
A good thing about games is that they have become very social, says Harry Hol. “What happens in the game world is part of the real-life of children. During the game, they chat about anything and everything. “They might be playing Fortnite, but they’re still talking about the everyday stuff.” According to him, that also partly explains the frustration when a child is brutally cut off in a game, because it has to come to the table, for example. “It’s as if one of your parents walked onto the field during a game of football and took the ball because you have to come home now.”
Gaming together connects. For children, it is nice if their parents have a genuine interest in their game: then you can discuss it together.” An additional advantage is that it makes it easier to make appointments, he says. “If you know that a game lasts an average of 20 minutes, you can better estimate whether you can say: okay, one more game. That makes it more fun and more relaxed for everyone.” Finally, as a parent, you can help your child reflect on and put things into perspective about the game he or she is playing. “That way you can teach them how to deal with winning and losing, for example,” says Hol. “Ultimately, a computer game is not all that different from playing football or marbles.”