Touch player, tablet, computer, portable or fixed console, within the family of Anika Gaudet and her spouse (six children from 2 to 19 years old), each child (apart from 2-year-old twins) has their own digital video game support. “To ensure a healthy relationship with the activity, we have established a golden rule: it is possible to play video games as long as they do not affect mood, character and that they do not prevent the completion of daily chores. ” So far, the rule has proven itself: no child has developed significant behavioral problems. But the mother remains on guard. When it comes to the Diablo 2 games, then the D2 items are quite important there.
Faced with the immense popularity of video games, parents and health specialists are sounding the alarm. Overweight, aggressive behavior, learning problems, addictions, social isolation, video games often have a bad press.
- “It remains games and play is the language of the child,” recalls neuropsychologist Francine Lussier. It is through him that he learns, that he has interactions. ” However, the toy chests of the modern family are full of digital devices promoting inertia and in some, isolation.
According to Young People in Fitness Canada’s 2012 Youth Physical Activity Bulletin, young Canadians aged 10 to 16 spend an average of 7 hours 48 minutes a day in front of screens (television, computer, electronic device). “They are riveted there from morning to evening. It’s too much, ”says Dr. Emmett Francoeur, pediatrician and Dr. of the Montreal Children’s Hospital (MCH) child development program.
In Anika Gaudet’s family, play time rarely exceeds two hours per day, which corresponds to the Canadian guidelines for physical activity for 5 to 17 year olds, document presented by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. and ParticipACTION.
Along with violence (see other text), pathological dependence is one of the main concerns of parents, as Anika Gaudet testifies. “I occasionally buy peace by sending my 6-year-old son to play while dinner is being prepared. Each time, I tell myself that he risks becoming addicted or anti-social. We must remain vigilant. ”
According to a longitudinal study by the United States National Institute for Media and Family at the University of Iowa, nearly 9% of children who play video games are at risk of developing a pathological addiction that could lead to sleep disorders , anxiety, asocial issues, depression.
- “We perceive a pathological dependence when the child thinks only of playing, that his games are found in his drawings, that he experiences school failure”, specifies Dr. Francoeur, who is however surprised that this percentage is as low.
- Like him, several childhood specialists had anticipated more psychic consequences for big players. However, scientists have not proven that the increase in cases of attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity or aggressiveness was linked to the video game practices of children.
Several researchers and doctors, including the French child psychologist Michael Stora, even defend the video game provided they do not abuse it and properly supervise the young player. According to them, video games improve cognitive skills, promote memory, logic, concentration and socialization.
A lonely youngster, like the 16-year-old teenager from the Gaudet family, can also enjoy video games. “When he was younger, he became aggressive when he was forced to socialize,” explains Anika Gaudet. A specialist advised us to favor solo activities. On returning from school, he retired to reading or playing video games. He needs it and it works. ”