The benefits of video games

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The benefits of video games

Parents often wonder if there are any benefits to playing video games. The answer is, maybe. There are some studies out there that do support some gains relative to problem solving, maybe some improved visual acuity, hand/eye coordination. On the whole, the big upside is that parents know where their kids are at, instead of wandering around at some kids house or somewhere else; whether that's considered a gain or a positive, have to be pretty careful about that. A kid can hole up in his room for eight hours playing video games, so they have to be careful about that. On the whole, the research shows us that there aren't significant gains to cognitive improvement or social development, that we would ever say, "You need to play video games to improve your development or maturation." On the hole, I don't think so. The point is that it's recreation, and anything done to excess is going to be a problem. The golden questions parents want to know is; how long is too long and how long is too much. I always tell parents, and even my own kids, thirty minutes is the cutoff. When I watch my own kids, I see where they can start to get engrossed to the point where other things don't matter as much. Who wants to do chores or homework when they can play video games? I always cut it off at thirty minutes, occasionally, on the weekends, I might let them go for on hour. That is my professional, as well as, personal opinion.

See Rick Meeves, PhD, LMFT 's video on The benefits of video games...


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Rick Meeves, PhD, LMFT

Clinical Director of CRC

Dr. Rick Meeves has spent the last 16 years working with adolescents and their families. He currently serves as the Director of Adolescent Clinical Services for CRC Health Group, the nation’s largest provider of addiction treatment and related behavioral health services.  Rick has helped families deal with the rapidly expanding access to video and electronic media. As a practitioner he has seen teens lock themselves in their rooms, playing video games for days on end. He has also seen teens who became addicted to online gambling. Rick has seen parents who have accepted this behavior as some acceptable alternative to staying out all night or using drugs or alcohol. He has helped families re-establish healthy patterns and use of electronic gaming and has established healthy patterns with his own boys.

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