Parents are advised to set limits on playing time
Professor Mark Griffiths, of Nottingham Trent University, has researched the psychological impact of computer games.
He shares some tips for parents and teachers on a balanced approach to gaming.
• Check the content of the gaming activity. Try and give children and adolescents games that are educational rather than violent. Parents usually have control over what their kids watch on television - gaming should be no different.
• Try to encourage gaming in groups rather than as a solitary activity. This will lead to children and adolescents talking and working together. Also remember that many online games are based on social activity and working together. Research has consistently shown that the main reason for playing online games is for the social element.
• Set limits on playing time. Tell children and adolescents that they can play for a couple of hours as a reward after they have done their homework or their chores - not before.
• Parents and guardians should always get their children to follow the recommendations by the game manufacturers and/or the service providers (e.g., sit at least two feet from the screen, play games in a well-lit room, never have the screen at maximum brightness, and never engage in gaming when already feeling tired).
• Finally, if all else fails, ban gaming temporarily and then, when you feel it is appropriate, allow them to play again on a part-time basis.