Kids Explain: Why We Like Online/Video Games
Do you like playing video games with friends or by yourself?
Maddie: I like playing video games, usually with my friends. I don’t like it when it’s just me alone. I like to have the video game that I am playing be more social. So maybe when I go to a party or something we all have a Guitar Hero tournament. Or maybe we will play each other in a Wii tennis match. Games are more fun that way.
Henry: I love playing video games. I like it when I play by myself. That way I can concentrate on the game. I think it’s better and more fun that way.
Which kind do you like to play better: online, video or computer games?
Maddie: I like video games that have a lot of action. I don’t like games where you have to get a bunch of tasks done just to get to another level. I just want to know what happens next! It’s kind of like watching a movie. It can’t be too long or too short otherwise, I just lose interest.
Henry: I like playing video games because I think they can be much more fun. I don’t like playing online games sometimes, because they can be less exciting and there are a lot of violent games online. I like computer games, too, especially Rome Total War because it’s historic and has a lot of action.
[Ed. Note: Henry is referring to the difference between online games -- games that exist online at sites like miniclip.com - and computer games, games you buy in a box and install on your computer or play from a disc on your computer drive.]
What are the good things kids get out of playing video games?
Maddie: Definitely strategy and hand-eye coordination are the two important things that kids can use in the future. Plus, they are a lot of fun.
Henry: The good things kids can get out of video games are hand-eye coordination and computer skills. You can also learn about history on some games. The only other thing is fun and a lot of it. Playing games can be a big stress relief.
Are there any downsides to playing games?
Maddie: Too much of anything is bad for you. So if you play video games too much you could end up growing into the couch and being labeled as a “couch potato”.
Henry: You can get easily addicted to video games. Sometimes you can’t get your work done at school because you’re too busy thinking about video games. Same thing goes for homework. Also, some games are too violent and they can really bother kids.
Do you think games have changed the way you learn? How?
Maddie: Rarely do I find myself thinking about video games when I’m trying to learn. I don’t think I can see any ways where playing games could influence my learning good or bad.
Henry: It can teach you what’s good or what’s bad. Some games can be very historic. There are some games used for learning online, but they are usually kind of boring.
What should parents know about gaming and kids?
Maddie: It’s not really what parents should know about gaming — it is what they should know about their kids. Parents should be able to trust their children enough to know that the content displayed in the video games should not influence their behavior. With that being said, it’s always a good idea for parents to research any kind of media that their child is viewing to make sure it’s appropriate for them.
Henry: If kids are playing games online, you can sometimes chat with other players and that’s okay if you’re playing with a friend. But if you’re playing with people you don’t know, they might swear. In some games, if you say bad words you can get kicked out. Parents should check out what their kids are playing. Parents can check the history of the computer to find out what game sites their child has been playing on, too.