How Bad Can Video Games Really Be?
It is often assumed as just common knowledge that video games aren't good for kids. They will always be around, and have been in some form for around a quarter of a century now, but are considered a necessary evil by most parents and carers of the younger generation. Their kids will always want the latest video game and consoles, and they will undoubtedly be influenced by their friends and peers in these desires, but are they really such a bad thing?
There's no denying that the lifestyle a lot of kids lead in the western world is pretty unhealthy. Video games are held in the same esteem as junk food and lack of exercise, but perhaps that's a little unfair.
A wise person once said "everything in moderation". They were wrong in many instances (genocide in moderation still isn't good), but in the world of video games, I believe this statement is definitely spot on. If you allow a child to play video games 24/7 (and they might well want you to do so) then undoubtedly there are going to be real health risks, not only in terms of a lack of activity but in injuries such as repetitive strain injury and eye strains and other conditions, but video games in moderation can actually be good for children.
Kids need their downtime too. Children actually lead an increasingly stressful life, and games can be a good way for them to escape from these stresses, if only for a while. Whereas your method of unwinding might be a hot bath or a couple of drinks and a movie, younger generations often want to play video games. Children have always been encouraged (or at least allowed) to read, to play board games, to watch television, but not to play games. Perhaps a fear of this relatively new media is to blame, and although the benefits of gaming of course aren't the same as reading, I don't see how they're so different to board games or television, and these aren't so poorly thought of.
There will always be a few games that spoil the party for the others, but that is what the age ratings are for, and in the same way you wouldn't let a five year old watch an 18+ movie, you shouldn't allow them to play games not designed for their age group. Be sensible with which games you allow your kids to play, and how long for, and video games wont do them any harm at all.