This media stuff is complicated

I write a lot about screen time. I never intended to, but stuff just keeps popping up, like moms being distracted by their phones, or distracted walkers becoming a serious problem with teens and children, or that there seems to be little evidence about the educational value of phone games and apps.

Wait...is that last one true?

Researches from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development now claim that playing games can make your brain more powerful.

The study found that people who played at least 30 minutes of Mario 64 every day for two months actually grew significant amounts of new gray matter in three areas of the brain correlated with spatial navigation, strategic planning, working memory, and motor performance.

Huh.

Their research, of course, is geared more toward theraputic interventions on psychiatric disorders and on adults, but all the same, I can't help but think video games may help children with their motor control skills, memory and visual mapping (depending on the system you play.)

So, what's a mom to do? 

This mom is going to go with the wisdom of her mother (thanks, Mom) and many other women before her and stick with the mantra of "all things in moderation." Sometimes, children just need to play and we don't need to worry if it is good for them or not. So, go and save the princess, Mario. (But, do your homework first.)

What's the video game policy in your house?

4 comments:

  1. We really try to limit the time, because while mental health is good, so is physical health. I push for more active Wii games, like Just Dance because at least they aren't just sitting around and we save that for mostly rainy or really cold days. If they really want to play a game, they have to give me approximate equal physical activity. So an hour of game time means first, they have to go ride bikes or hike in the woods for an hour (something like that). Then, they have their Nabi's which I allow mostly in the car for long trips or waiting at the doctors office. Maybe we are a bit tight on it, but I have some very healthy kids who often OPT to go out in play and make better choices on their own now. We do allow some flexibility, but try to keep to these general rules. It hasn't ever been a source of conflict either.
    - Tricia of Mom's Money Garden
    http://moneygarden.weebly.com

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    1. I agree that limits and age-appropriate games are of up-most importance. I love the balance you've struck with outdoor/active play and indoor play!

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  2. We limit it.
    Since I homeschool my son & a big chunk of his daily work is on the computer, he doesn't get a whole lot of "free" time to play. He gets a little (either tv or gaming). But if he wants more (and he always does!), he has to earn it with his behavior chart reward system.

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    1. We use a reward chart in our household too, and I was just talking with my husband about changing the reward to video time - it is wonderful to hear that it works!

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