Although some parents might consider online gaming to represent nothing more than a hobby, hardcore players themselves would hardly agree; some even claim that it is an actual lifestyle. Indeed, many industry trends tend to back up such a belief. For example, did you know that gamers have developed their own form of acronym-based language that is used when communicating with others? If you are still not convinced, feel free to have a look at this AFK meaning and other gaming terms. You will be surprised at how far the community has evolved!
It can also be handy for parents to get their head around gaming terms and teen slang – it is truly another language and learning a few key phrases will help you ensure your child is safe online, gaming and on social media.
Still, we need to remember that even the most avid gamers should take a break from time to time. The main question involves how often these respites occur. As it is our responsibility as parents to keep our children healthy, let’s take a closer look at what industry experts have to say.
How Long is Too Long?
so, when might a bit of “downtime” be in order? One interesting approach is known as the 52-17 rule. In other words, players should take a 17-minute break for every 52 minutes of active gaming time. This helps to reduce issues such as mental fatigue; providing them with a much-needed edge when they eventually return.
Note that this is only one perspective. Time limits may also be determined by the type of game being played. For instance, a platform that requires a great deal of mental acuity or astute problem-solving skills will often be associated with shorter time limits. Part of this involves the state of the player and issues such as tiredness and interest.
School Days Versus Holidays
Experts recommend that game times should be limited during any days of the week associated with the school. In this case, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that children should play no more than 60 minutes of online games. Children can increase this limit by up to two hours over the weekend or on holidays. Parents should therefore make it a point to establish these rules from the very beginning in order to avoid any potential arguments.
Additional Tips for Healthy Screen Time
While all of the recommendations above are indeed useful, let’s remember that children should also be responsible for their actions. This is why encouraging self-awareness is just as important. Here are some unique suggestions to consider implementing:
- Parents can set a “game timer” to activate once a limit is reached.
- Children and teenagers should learn about the signs of physical and mental fatigue.
- In the event that a time limit is knowingly exceeded, children must be made aware of the consequences (such as not being able to access a device).
Above all, parents must remember that online gaming is here to stay. It is much better to establish firm boundaries and rules as opposed to allowing a child to play with few guidelines. If they are able to understand the negative effects of excessive gaming, they will be much more likely to develop healthy and responsible habits as they grow and mentally mature.