Wired & Wireless Play
When WE were kids, we played kick-the-can, Simon-says, and a host of other wireless games. Handed down from generation to generation, these games encouraged physical activity and fostered the development of social skills. Today’s kids have video games. We’ve all heard about the harms of excessive video game playing: social isolation, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, depression, attention deficit disorder, and desensitization to overt depictions of sex and violence. However, given wise choices among the various types of video games, it is possible to find a healthy mix of video games (“wired” games) and wireless games. What follows is some tips on healthy gaming.
- 1. Ensure daily wireless play. Encourage play that involves physical and social activity, creativity, learning, and fun. Sedentary wireless play (i.e., board and card games) can foster the development of social skills and knowledge, so these forms of play can be used occasionally as well.
- 2. Choose video games wisely. Grand Theft Auto? No, probably not. Wii? Ok. Video games that encourage physical and social activity are a good choice. Sedentary, isolated video games (i.e., Tetris) can increase hand-eye coordination, but use these video games sparingly.
- 3. In this wireless-game-oriented youth culture, you may wish to choose wireless games and activities that support the wired games that your kids are already playing. Are your kids playing “Just Dance”? If so, how about signing them up for dance classes? Are your kids bowling via video game? If so, how about taking your kids bowling . . . the real kind, not the video game kind?
- 4. How about investing in a Wii Fit? It’s video and fitness all in one. You or your babysitter can exercise with your kids to Wii Fit routines.
- 5. A host of educational video games are now on the market. These teach your kids while also entertaining them. Some are geared for major consoles such as Nintento’s Game Cube, GameBoy Advance, XBox, and PlayStation, while others are stand-alone video games.
By following these five tips, you can help your kids achieve a balance between wired and wireless play to achieve cognitive, social, and physical growth.
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