Ask the Teacher

I hear comments all the time about restricting screen time for my young kids. They love playing video games so much that I just don’t understand what the big deal is. How can playing video games have such a negative impact on their academics?

Playing video games is not in and of itself problematic. It becomes so when it is the main activity your children want to do with their time.

For kids to be successful in school, many aspects of their development must be considered. At the top of that list is physical health. Children must have healthy diets, engage in physical exercise and play daily, and get a good night’s sleep every night. Playing video games excessively cuts into the time that kids get the exercise they need. Many children get so wrapped up in video games that bed time gets pushed later and later.

Reading ability is tied directly to academic success, and reading progress is tied directly to time spent reading. When children play computer games at the expense of reading, they will struggle to advance in vocabulary and comprehension development. That lack of development will have a detrimental effect both short term and long term.

Help your children keep video game playing in perspective. Establish the parameters for when games can be played, prioritizing an hour of physical play, following 30 minutes or more of reading, and ending 30 minutes or more prior to bed time. Also, encourage using some of their computer time for academic games to reinforce educational skills and concepts.

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