jump to navigation

Child’s play? January 10, 2008

Posted by BCME UK in Social media.

I was interested to see an article in the Daily Mail today reporting that technology industry experts at the Consumer Electronics Show are claiming that under-sevens ‘shouldn’t play computer games’. Why? Apparently it can shorten their attention span, harm their ability to learn and it is also seen as an isolating experience.

The reason this article particularly jumped out at me was because I was at my friend’s house the other day and I noticed that things were particularly tense between she and her partner. With his back turned and armed with a large mug of coffee, she mouthed to me that most of the problems in their relationship at present stem from his hardcore gaming addiction. And addiction it does seem to be – he told me later that he plays eight hours a day at the weekend and then four hours a night when he gets home from work. The sad thing is – and the point of my writing – is that they have two young kids who are just two and three.

The two year old seems blissfully unaware of her father’s habit (although it is no doubt an acceptable part of her limited understanding of what is ‘normal’) but the three year old has already started gaming. Admittedly, he’s not yet playing Grand Theft Auto, Manhunt or Devil May Cry but he’s definitely picked up the desire to sit in front of the computer for as long as he possibly can and hit the keys in a quick and non-stylish manner. Without wanting to upset my friend, this habit at the age of three did somewhat alarm me. However, I later witnessed him interacting with his parents and taking part in some more ‘educational’ games and was actually impressed with his hand-eye coordination, ability to pick up new tasks and dexterity. Now, I’d be the first to admit that I’m no child psychologist, but it occurred to me that his development and apparent grasp of things that other three year olds may not necessarily have achieved at this stage, could be due to his early gaming habits.

And I don’t believe I’m the only person to have been hit by this thought. In the second half of last year, casual games developer, Popcap released a survey claiming that 92% of people felt that casual games were a good way of bonding with children and 70% felt that casual games were of educational benefit. I guess the main question that remains unanswered is how young is too young? Personally, I think I’d be somewhat disturbed if I had a three year old who constantly wanted to play games on the PC. Yet, my recent visit to my friend’s house leaves me slightly more open minded about this now and – taking lifestyle out of the equation – I could still be convinced that small amounts of game playing can, in fact, be a good thing, whatever your age.



No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: