T. Atilla Ceranoglu, MD

School out, video games not

Summer is in full swing, children are playing video games in addition to any other activity they might have started. As parents and caregivers, we should keep in mind the concerns about effects of video games on emotional health of our children. While many are concerned about a possible association of video games with violent content and aggression or violence among youth, no clear causation link has been shown. However, a growing body of research consistently reminds us of the effects of circumstances of video game play on overall well-being of a child. These circumstances include the location of the video game equipment, duration of the play time, and timing of that play.

Video games in a child's bedroom tend to be played longer, without supervision and are closely associated with sleep problems. Similarly, video game play within 2 hours of bedtime has been consistently associated with more difficulty falling asleep. Video game play for longer than 90 minutes has been shown to impair attention at least in the following hours.

So, please remember to:

- Set clear rules about game content and playing time

- Remove video game devices out of the bedrooms to a shared location in the household. Video game play in a child's bedroom tends to be less supervised, thus more likely to include games with content inappropriate for that child

MGH Blum Center hosted a series of parent advisory lectures during June, 2022, incluyding an update on effects of video games and some tips on how to ensure healthy digital media use among children. You can watch to full video here.

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