Starfish Therapies

August 9, 2009

Do Video Games Promote or Hinder Child Development?

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In an age of technology where video games are becoming more and more prevalent, I often wonder what the effects of video games are on a child’s development.  There is a mixture of information out there and I found a few articles that look at everything from physical development to their creativity and imagination to the importance of play for kids.  These articles still didn’t answer my questions and I think that’s because there is good and bad that can come out of playing video games.  The Wii Fit encourages kids to start exercising which is a good thing these days with childhood obesity on the rise, however what are they missing out on by not getting out and playing outside or actual sports?  Are they missing out on quality social interactions with their peers?

I have also always wondered if the ability to restart a game when it doesn’t go the way you want it to carries over into a child’s ability to handle obstacles that go along with gross motor development?  There isn’t a restart button in life but we can pick ourselves up and keep going.  I often see kids who are learning a more complex task like jump rope or monkey bars, or even riding a tricycle/bike want to give up after they haven’t mastered it on the first few tries.  It takes enrollment skills to keep them going, such as pointing out what they did master and encouraging them to go for the next step.  I think this relates back to developing a child’s resilience.

I do know that video games can improve hand eye coordination but do we then encourage our kids to go out and utilize that hand eye coordination away from the video console?  It can be as simple as playing catch, or frisbee, or hopscotch.

I think the conclusions I’ve taken away from looking at the information out there as well as observing a plethora of children is that video games can be a good tool although the question is how much are they being used and what other tools are you utilizing with your child to encourage their fitness and physical development?  Does anyone else have thoughts on this topic?



  1. hey, I’ve been thinking about this lately too, especially since Axel has discovered (and loves) the apps on my iphone. My feelings are that for most kids, everything is ok in moderation. I’ve seen my oldest learn some great skills on the computer, but I wouldn’t let her play everyday. For my Special Needs child it’s a little trickier. I’ve been amazed at how fast he’s been able to pick up & understand the games on my phone, but he can also fixate on them. For now, I let him play with them on that occasion that we’re sitting in a doctor’s office, waiting in the car, etc. I admit that I have a small amount of guilt about this, because I know every is a learning moment, but we all need a break now & then right? 🙂

    Comment by Anne Schultz — August 11, 2009 @ 3:39 pm | Reply

  2. I, too think of this topic often. Research is showing that children who participate ini active video games are burning more calories than watching television or playing regular video games. Wonderful but what about the social and environmental benefits of being outdoors. I have to say my children have a Wii and it basically collects dust. They would much rather be outdoors playing with their friends. What concerns me even more is that physical education class is also turning to individualized active video games. What a shame. Our children will lose valuable lessons about winning, losing and creating relationships with REAL people. Glad I found your blog from Twitter. Look forward to reading more.

    Comment by Your Therapy Source Inc — August 17, 2009 @ 1:47 am | Reply

  3. […] 2.  Do Video Games Promote or Hinder Child Development? […]

    Pingback by Top 10 Blog Posts of 2009 « Starfish Therapies — January 4, 2010 @ 10:32 pm | Reply

  4. […] 3.  Do Video Games Promote of Hinder Child Development? […]

    Pingback by Top 10 Blog Posts of 2010 « Starfish Therapies — January 3, 2011 @ 2:13 am | Reply

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