Video game use among children is, if you happen to be a parent, a worrisome issue. Even I worry about it with my own son.
Today's Irish Times has a fairly thoughtful story up about the topic. Instead of running around worrying that video games are to blame for all of today's wrongs, the article meticulously walks through a number of concerns, citing a number of different bits of research, about childhood and playing video games.
More importantly, it includes some solid ideas for child rearing in the age of consoles.
The most interesting for me were the comments made by Sue Palmer in her book, Detoxing Childhood - What Parents Need to Know to Raise Bright Balanced Children. Palmer devotes an enter section to the topic of electronics.
Her advice to parents include:
Stick with real life for at least the first three years;
Place firm limits (an hour a day at most) on computer use until children are around eight or nine, and well on the way to being readers and writers;
Limit time spent in virtual worlds until children are well into their teens.
A key point: Set these rules and boundaries up when children are young, because it could be nearly impossible to introduce them when they are teenagers.
Another very interesting point that the article makes is that children aren't the only ones retreating from family life. Parents too should monitor their time spent in front of electronics.