Video/online games carry a lot of negative connotations amongst parents, in general. Is that always true? If yes, why is it the most worrying thing on parent’s minds, and yet, every household has them? Aren’t these digital phenomena strengthening the cognitive and emotional abilities of otherwise bored children? The “Leapfrog,” “Digital storytelling” books, Minecraft, Super Mario – are they keeping children occupied and complementing the parenting role, or are they compounding to the busy schedules of parental lives? The worry lies in “excessive” usage or taking aid of these e-devices, spending their entire active time and seeking refuge in this digital world. It is not just the addiction but the comfort these games provide, making kids binge on games, videos that are perturbing. These extreme cases depict a lack of required parental control & family time.
The underlying causations focus towards “observational learning” in kids & “protecting the self,” & the way parents are struggling between the mysterious yet straightforward “operant conditioning” methods. Peer pressure, marketing strategies, parent’s affluence, and changing lifestyles create this long divide between positive parenting and positive reinforcement. This leading to the causal ramifications: good & evil and might be raising shy, angry, anxious, and incompetent kids.
It’s incredible to see how fast kids learn, adapt to specific video games like Minecraft™, Terraria™, Stickman™, etc. The visual-motor areas light up in their brains, with the sympathetic nervous systems kicking in even at bedtime. These games take them to an imaginary world aiming to defeat monsters / hidden villains. These devices and games make their entry into family rooms to mark these kids’ successes, be more up-to-date with technology, and be more hands-on with the latest trends. Slowly, they take over the control, control on kids’ minds, and control on parenting. With these devices taking control, not in the authoritative parenting style but in other styles, parents enjoy getting a desired break, helping them get on with their chores, spending their waiting times in long queues, shopping times, all to go smooth. So, parents get to pursue their interests and help them plan their time the way they intend to. Playing video games and spending time on tabs is necessary in these modern times, but making these a substitute for parental care and concern doesn’t produce positive results in the long run. Effective time management and wise coordination between parents/carers and children are vital. It should not let the parent-child bonding slip from positive reinforcement to upsetting family relations bringing in “punishments” or “response costs.”
The secure attachment in a parent-child relation, which was supposed to raise socially competent, positive & confident kids, is somewhere being disturbed in between. Here, strangers are getting closer, and parents are being pushed to a distance. The scenario should be, kids should get back to the parent when there is a stranger, but this cycle is disappearing; when these devkices are taken away, kids shoe raising anger and anxiousness. Again, parents must regain their space in their children’s minds and hearts. So, perhaps these strangers might be allowed for a predetermined time! These games and devices’ time should be earned as part of doing their assignments,or over their leisure time. Kids should have agreeable terms on their e-times. Parents should give their children a clear idea about these privileges, and children must appreciate this approval of their freedom and time.
Children should be well-informed about the moderate usage of e-devices. They need the social skills which could develop over the social gatherings minus these devices. Their innocent minds should not be under the control of “hidden” billion-dollar video game makers/markets. Yet their widgets enhance creativity, expose their imaginary world of possibilities bringing the best in them. Their positivities are underrated due to excessive usage only because they dominate parents’ ability to control and direct their children’s brains. So, parenting must be positive and wise, mixed with appropriate control and increased support, just the authoritative way!