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Should Kenya Regulate Video Games for Kids Like China Has?

Article by Maureen Kasuku
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Posted: September 07, 2021  

Kids have been wild about video games for decades. With the introduction of mobile game systems and smartphone apps, gaming has been taken to new heights worldwide. 

E-sports  has likewise become huge in Kenya and with hundreds of thousands of teens owning smartphones, mobility brought gaming into the car, the bedroom, and even to class! it’s hard to find a kid who isn’t playing some kind of game.

For many parents, this is a cause of concern but for some, gaming is harmless fun. See our poll results on gaming here

Under the new rules published Monday by China’s National Press and Publication Administration, kids and teens under 18 years old in China will only be allowed up to three hours per week to play online video games- a maximum of one hour a day between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on weekends and legal holidays only. The agency billed the rules as a way to safeguard children’s physical and mental health.

According to UVP, here are pros & cons of kids playing video games

Pros

Life Skills

Many video games teach kids how to delegate, work as a team, and prioritize. Internet-enabled games that let kids play with their real-life friends often require collaboration and division of tasks to beat the level.

Improved Brain Function

Video games have been shown to help us improve our ability to reason and solve problems. They help us make split-second decisions, process information quickly, and multitask effectively. Games can also improve hand-eye coordination and boost auditory perception.

Exercise

Motion-controlled games like the Nintendo Wii were once thought to be the answer to parental concerns about video games leading to obesity. But studies have shown these video games alone don’t increase kids’ overall activity level.

Job Skills

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) argues that kids need to play more video games in order to be competitive in the current job market. In a report they released in 2010, the FAS said games helped teach higher-order thinking skills like problem solving,  interpretive analysis, and more.

Cons

Violence

While every other study seems to draw opposite conclusions about the social effects of playing violent video games, studies involving brain scans are concerning. Simply put, children playing violent video games show decreased activity in areas of the brain dedicated to self-control and an increase in emotional arousal.

Addiction

England’s National Health Service began treating video game addiction this year, after the World Health Organization listed “gaming disorder” in its International Classification of Disease.

Video games are not alternatives to real life social interaction.  Be aware of how much your children are playing video games and if it’s replacing or negatively impacting other aspects of their lives.

Kids with internet-connected games can easily “hang out” with friends after school without ever leaving home. But this type of virtual get-together is no replacement for actual face-to-face interaction.

Parents’ role in Video Games

Video games can play a positive role in our children’s lives, but we need to be there to help set limits. If you’re worried that your child is becoming too obsessed with games, then it is time to sit down and talk. 

Signs and Symptoms of Video Game Abuse:

  • Falling grades
  • Not sleeping enough, feelings of fatigue
  • Free-time is used almost exclusively for playing video games
  • Irritability when not playing video games
  • Neglect of hygiene
  • Disinterest in other activities
  • Increased anxiety

 

Should Kenya regulate video games for kids like China has? Take our poll here and let us know.

About the author

Maureen Kasuku

Maureen is our resident cat lady and Beyoncé stan. She writes about spas, brunch and ballet recitals but has never been to any. Moonlights as a social justice activist in her spare time. She knows things and is obnoxiously opinionated on the internet but not in real life

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