Recently, the Fortnite video game has received very severe criticism for the addiction and damage that is reported among its users. Do you already know them?
I know drugs are harmful. They cloud the brain, kill neurons, and cause irreparable damage. My husband and I protect our children from falling into them. Now that they are little, our way is to talk to them as much as possible. They know that they should not accept treats or gifts from strangers, and that the drinks and products they buy or receive should be opened in their presence.
In this sense, I thought we were doing everything right, until I read some statements that claimed that my children were exposed to a video game whose potential harm experts compare to drug addiction.
I have to confess that I was alarmed when I read this. Therefore, I have given myself the task of investigating the pros and cons, and I will explain them to you below. Will you accompany me
Are video games good?
When such dramatic statements come up, the first question parents ask ourselves is: do video games have any advantage? Aren’t they just a means to escape? Should we strictly ban them and thus protect our children?
According to a study by the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL) and the University of Grenoble Alpes (France), cited by the Spanish site Know how to live, « Certain action video games could become a good tool to focus attention on what we are seeing, which would help improve our reading ability «.
In addition, the source indicates that some of these games can speed up decision-making: « Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh (USA) have tested it in emergency physicians. And they have done it by creating a specific video game for them, in which the protagonist is precisely a doctor of this specialty. After an hour playing the video game, the decision-making of the doctors was better and faster than that of those who reviewed traditional didactic material. «, Indicates.
Other study ,published in Spain, it states that « nearly 4 thousand US hospitals are currently using video games as part of analgesic therapy or to improve hospital stay. The abstraction capacity of the video game makes patients more motivated to continue with the exercises and that the effects of pain are mitigated by the user’s desire to improve themselves and their experience in the game.
They can also be used as support for the treatment of children with cerebral palsy, eye problems such as the so-called “lazy eye” and as support for physical therapists.
As you can see, video games do have advantage and large areas of support for the development of our children. But are the disadvantages greater?
Disadvantages or dangers of playing video games
There are some dangers looming over our children about this way of spending their time.
1 Unlike television, video games can lead to greater dependency. This difference is found in the repetitive and reward structure that characterizes them.
2 They can isolate the little ones, who will be interested only in the immediate and usual reward that video games offer.
3 It is easy for children to lose track of time, because when they are involved in this activity, the emotion makes it go unnoticed.
However, it is also stated that «it is very difficult to know to what extent the video game will affect a child’s social or school life, or the child’s predisposition to depend on the video game, or the child’s brain vulnerability to certain repetitive stimuli « .
How to evaluate its benefit or impact
For this reason, specialists provide measurement guidelines on the possible harm that video games would cause your child:
If your child has little self-control, or if – instead of following instructions in a serene way – he has outbursts of impatience and aggressiveness, it is easier that falls into dependency of the video game
Play time and parental attention
If there are no clear rules or limits on the use of video games, and they become a “babysitter” with whom children spend entire afternoons, your child is bound to generate a dangerous addiction.
The Spanish magazine Be parents, cites that “ playing two hours with video games a week is beneficial, while playing nine hours is associated with behavior problems, according to a study carried out by researchers from the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health ) »
Video game content
The issue of violence should concern us. No one has doubts that our children and young people are overexposed to it. We must then take special care.
Dr. Feggy Ostrosky, from the faculty of psychology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, it statesthat « in a globalized world there are more and more external influences, and cases (carried out by the young people themselves); In addition, adolescents are exposed to see violence as entertainment. Video games desensitize and in them they shoot to kill and thus earn points ”.
And the Fortnite video game?
Of this video game, it is constantly affirmed that by its design, it causes greater addiction, and greater damage.
These damages do not only cover children. The mexican magazineProcess, indicates that “ the negative impact reported by Fortnite even extends to relationships: a survey by the divorceonline.co.uk site found that, since January 2018, some 200 separations were caused by addiction to Fortnite and other games in line . ‘
The consequences for children are worse, experts say. According to scientist Ofir Turel, from the University of California: « children are especially vulnerable because their brains are not yet fully balanced. Their reward-processing brain systems are developed but their self-control systems are not . This, according to the expert, makes children do not know when or how to stop.
What to do then?
What would be the key? How can we distinguish benefit or harm for our children? This depends on each parent. If you have the ability to effectively monitor your children, have adequate limit management, and are willing to strike a balance, this video game may not represent any risk. Although it is important that you consider the appropriate age for the use of this product, which according to some experts is 13 years or more.
The challenge is to take advantage of the educational benefits of video games, avoiding electronic entertainment. This situation is not easy, but with your attention and affection, it will be an opportunity to experience self-control with your children, and the search for healthy and enriching entertainment.
Should you allow your children to play this video game? Weigh the pros and cons, and you will know what to do.