There are more sinister effects of video games on children that are creeping up on every parent. No, this isn’t about games causing violence, this is about risking permanent damage to kid’s entire bodies.
“But Mom, all my friends are allowed to play video games all day.”
This is what every parent has to deal with at some point. Video games make parenting a balancing act. If they say this, you become cornered. Either way you lose.
So what do you do?
Understand this video game world fully and all side effects that come with it.
If you play video games over a certain amount of hours, it will take a toll on you. Not just eyesight, but in multiple areas: cardiovascular, muscle stiffness, spinal shape, posture, blood clots and the list goes on.
Why is video gaming so dangerous?
Because humans aren’t designed to sit all day.
So I should strictly limit my child’s gaming hours?
No, It’s not that simple. Let me explain.
How Much Screen Time Should My Child Be Allowed?
Numerous government websites and health organizations have released health guidelines suggesting that: young children from ages 5-17 should be allowed no more than 2 hours of screen time per day.
Although this is a good guideline to follow, it’s not that simple.
From my experience playing video games for more than 10 years, the time limit doesn’t matter, it’s about what they are doing in those hours.
What I have found to be ideal: Have upright posture while playing, take short breaks as much as possible and focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Every 1-2 hours, give your child a 1hr break of physical activity, and if your child is playing on a PC, you should consider a standing desk.
Here is my favorite standing desk.
During my years of gaming, I suggest these rules to reduce the negative effects of video games on children and their health.
With a standing desk you get the best of both worlds. They can game for much longer, because they are standing up.
It doesn’t matter if your child plays 1 hour or 10 hours, if they don’t pay close attention to their body, gaming will take a toll on them either way. The trick is to make gaming healthier not shorter.
A good parenting tactic is to allow more playtime in direct correlation to healthier activity. Up until a certain point that is.
I have personally experienced all the negative health effects one could get by gaming too long. With this experience I’ve come up with ways to negate these negative effects and learned how long it takes until my body just needs a break.
Even playing a bit more than 1hours at a time is really pushing it, the truth is, our bodies can’t handle being sedentary for so long, we need to stand up and move around.
The amount of 1 hour sessions is up to you. 2 sessions could be a good start. Or start with 1 session until your kids prove that they can take care of their health while gaming.
During the hour or so break your kids should get some physical activity. Taking a break just to sit down again is going to do more harm than good. After sitting for an hour or more, your body needs to get moving again.
Anything that involves cardiovascular exercise like running, walking and skipping is great. This will get the heart pumping.
Like we learnt in school, our ancestors would outrun certain animals to hunt them for food. We are built to be endurance runners and the use of our cardiovascular system is imperative to our health.
If gaming is integrated into the lifestyle of your kids, lots of physical exercise should also be.
There are ways to be lenient on playtime and reduce the effects of video games on children at the same time.