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If kids limit playing time, playing video games is not harmful???

Steven Wang

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Hi, there,

I found many kids are not able to limit the play time, that is why many parents don't  let them play video games. Once they are playing a little bit, most kids are going to play more and more....

Is it reasonable to not allow kids to play video games because they can not control playing time?



Edited by Steven Wang
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Good Morning Steven, 

The answer you are looking for is specific to each situation. Healthy time management skills are a necessary skill. But It may not be related to specifically video games. My gut feeling is that most kids don't know how to manage their time well, younger ones especially need to have some sort of structure or rules regarding doing any one activity too much. Watching tv, eating cookies, etc. 



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I'm fairly sure, as Billy mentioned, that there are differences in each individual that predisposes them to gaming addiction, just like any other addiction. Gaming addiction is just like obesity, some children have a hard time because there are mutations in the LEP gene which controls serum levels of leptin, the hormone that tells your brain to stop eating when you're full. In those children, their body doesn't know how to let them know to stop eating. I don't think that because a certain subset of the population has a higher propensity for becoming addicted to food/obese that means we should prevent all children from ever eating cookies. The same can be seen in most other addictions, acetylcholine receptors for smoking, etc.

I'm by no means an expert on addiction specifically, but I don't think that video games are bad for all people. For many, myself included, I have fond memories growing up playing video games with my brother, cousins, and friends. But when I think about it now, it wasn't even the video games themselves, it was just the activity. However, my brother is not a gaming addict as far as I'm aware while I ended up becoming one. 

I guess I think it is reasonable to cut video games completely when there is reason to believe that the child is becoming dependent or overly-drawn into the game and cannot control their playing time, but it may also be a good tool to show other individuals about time moderation and perhaps as a good treatment reward. If, for example, a child ate all of their vegetables for dinner and helped clean up the kitchen after, letting the child play 1 hour of video games may be even more positive than negative in reinforcing good behavior, at least for a normal, non-addicted child.

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