Kids & Video Games: Win or Lose?

Kids & Video Games: Win or Lose?

Kids & Video Games: Win or Lose?

“Mom, can I play my DS?” my 10 year old son asked with a sweet begging smile on his face. He knows the rule 30 minutes a day. Anytime I allow him to play with no limit he continues until I stop him. At a friend’s house for a sleep over I was told that he played it for 5 hours straight.

Moms all around me believe that video games can’t hurt anyone. It’s a great thing to keep the kids occupied and quiet. “We played video games growing up; Atari and Colleco Vision. We turned out fine. So, what could be wrong with letting our children play?” Well, my friends the world has changed and so have the video games. Our children are no longer playing Asteroids, an Atari game, where the objective is to blow up asteroids in outer space. Now they are playing games like Call of Duty with graphic violence blowing up people, viewing body parts flying into the air and splattering blood. Many parents do not realize that this exposure is causing desensitization- to make less sensitive. Basically it means the more one is exposed to a certain subject or picture the less they feel for it. The more violence they are exposed to the less shocked they are by it and more accepting they are of it. Of course it is not video games alone that they are exposed to; our movies, TV, news and books. Hunger Games was an extremely popular teen book. In fact it was a book that my daughter had to read for 6th grade literature. The theme of the book was an immoral act of violence pitting children against one another with weapons while watched by viewers. The winner was the person who survived and killed the other children.

Violence in our society from teens and young adults is changing and what they are watching is contributing to their downslide. I am not saying playing Mario Brothers on a DS for an hour a day will damage your child’s brain. I am saying as parents we need to monitor what they are playing and for how long.

A recent study showed that in teen boys the serotonin released in the brain is higher when playing video games than when doing crack cocaine. That means that video games are more addictive than crack cocaine. No, video games are not illegal and they probably won’t kill you but they are very addictive and can alter the behavior of children and teens.

So, what should we do to change it? They love their video games! Everything that brings pleasure to our children is not always good. Take the time to research the game before you buy it or let them buy or borrow it. Limit their game time. Make sure they are playing outside and doing other things that are healthy. Encourage sports and play dates where they interact with others instead of sitting alone with their videogames. It won’t be an easy change but it is an important one to consider making in our families. Being a parent is in no way easy but it is our responsibility to raise our children to be good, healthy, considerate and non violent citizens of this world.

Copyright 2013 Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp


About Author

Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp - mom of 4 teens/wife for 20+ years. Lori has been writing at her own website Faith Filled Mom. She writes about the journey of faith we live daily and the ability to recognize God. She is a retreat director at Sacred Heart Academy HS. She just earned her MA in Pastoral Ministry as well as a certification in spiritual direction.


  1. Lori, do you have a link to the study about the serotonin released when playing video games? I’d like to read it. I’ve heard about the addictiveness of video games and cautioned my son about it, but as a 13 year old boy who likes facts, I think it’d be good to have some “scientific evidence” to show him.

  2. Your phone can be just as bad as your consoles. I downloaded a bunch of storybooks and games for my toddler to play on my phone, thinking it was a good alternative to television. It quickly became apparent to me that she was so easily addicted to the games that she threw a fit when I took it away to answer the phone! Enough is enough! I deleted all the games and kept a few videos of shows I felt were safe and easy for her to enjoy if we’re stuck in a long car trip or something. I even deleted the games I myself had been playing because I felt they were taking away too much of my time.

  3. I loved your article! I, unlike most of my friends, strictly limit electronics for our kids (ages 6 & 4). While I do let them use the iPad for educational apps, even that’s limited to 30 minutes a week. I just think that there is so much more to life than sitting in front of a screen. My kids love to play outside, but sadly there aren’t many other neighborhood kids who want to join in the fun. I will say that I download audiobooks to the iPad for car trips. It keeps my 6 year old highly entertained and will entertain the 4 year old for at least a little while. There’s definitely a time and place for electronics, but the parents must be diligent in setting rules and enforcing them. It’s the least we can do for our kids.

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