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Battle Games and the Effect on Little Children

I know there are 'studies' on the impact of games on children's psyche.  I know there are a lot of 'experts' saying lot of things.  But I KNOW from our own observations, that games DO have an effect on children... 

Originally, when I made this post in July 2012, I didn't have much to say that was positive about the effect of battle games on my boys...

However, recently (Aug 2012), the boys have begun playing 2 player battle games across the LAN (wi-fi) and fighting adversaries TOGETHER.  Not only has this reduced the number of off-iPad arguments, but they are starting to think 'together' as opposed to 'me against you'.  And again (Jan 2013) I am forced to re-evaluate my opinion as well after watching a video-talk from Daphne Bavelier on TED, below.


iPad and Battle / Fighting Games' Effect on BehaviourGames are fun.  They're important to our development.  Strategic thinking, planning, multi-tasking, problem solving, explorative learning... all of these are IMPORTANT developmental aspects of playing games.  

HOWEVER, there are lots of shooting, fighting, and smash-em-up racing games available out there.  While they can be fun, the emotional stimulation that is generated from playing these games is OUTSIDE normal boundaries of reality for most of us. Really, it's not often we ACTUALLY get into a firefight, drive in a smash-up-derby, or get the chance to fight monsters in a fantasy kingdom.  

Letting our children (our boys particularly) play a few games with fighting as the main theme, IS NOT the majority of their gaming experience.   We've got little boys, and we're really wanting them to STOP fighting... you know what I mean!

Giving them a game that is based on aggression has not, in our experience, helped them be any more peaceful. We've tried it.  A LOT of different ways, at different times!  

Over the years since the iPad first arrived in the house we've seen the effect 'battle' games has on their everyday behaviour.  

HOWEVER: How do fast-paced video games affect the brain? Step into the lab with cognitive researcher Daphne Bavelier to hear surprising news about how video games, even action-packed shooter games, can help us learn, focus and, fascinatingly, multitask. (Filmed at TEDxCHUV.)Daphne Bavelier studies how the brain adapts to changes in experience, either by nature or by training.

Does it change their behaviour??  

YES INDEED, without doubt.  Anyone who says otherwise is not paying attention. Even the scientists know it has an effect.  As for BATTLE GAMES, it has in the short term, WITHOUT DOUBT, raised my children's agression levels, frustration levels, and even shortened their temper.  

As time goes by without playing these games they re-balance, but DURING and DIRECTLY AFTER playing battle games they are NOT behaving the same as before.

My advice?  Monitor your child's behaviour. 

We have had to completely BAN certain games as their effect on our little ones psyche was not acceptable.  It's not always the same game for each child, so it is important that you monitor your children yourself, responsibly. 

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