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My wonderful 11 year old son Theodore, absolutely loves playing computer games.  I'm sure that if it was up to him, he probably wouldn't do anything else.  I sometimes find myself getting worried about the amount of time he spends playing the games, I then remind myself of how I was at his age.  I too absolutely loved playing computer games, however I was madly keen on sports too, so my level of physical activity was very high.

I was born in 1970 so when I was my son's age in 1981, that was the time of the popular arcade games like PAC-MAN, DONKEY-KONG, etc etc.  When I was 13/14, I used to save my 'pocket-money', go into my local town centre, and play arcade games for the whole Saturday afternoon.  At that time, I also had a 'ZX Spectrum 48' which I used to play games with in the evening.  What memories I have from that period of time!  I absolutely loved it!

As mentioned, I used to play so many different sports when I was growing up.  I played Football, Tennis, Cricket, Basketball, Rugby, amongst others, and even American Football when I was 17/18.  That level of physical activity, helped me to develop a mentality that has helped me my whole life.  For example, I have read research that states that, children who are actively involved in sports, are less likely to suffer from depression in adulthood.

Some years ago, I watched an episode of South Park where the main characters were trying to work out a way of increasing their points level and their status, in a popular game at that time.  They worked out that they would have to play the game continuously(without taking a break)for a considerable period of time.  It went on to show them playing the game continuously, eating only junk food and fizzy drinks, their skin becoming very pale and spotty, etc etc.  I found it comical at the time, and I mentioned it to someone, who informed me that, that was exactly what some 'gamers' do.  Being a little naive, I was quite shocked.

In this same period of time, I saw a headline which stated that a man had died from continuous gaming.  I read the article in almost complete disbelief.  The fact that someone could die in those circumstances, was utterly shocking to me.  So much so, that I mentioned the story to a friend at that time, who found a story on the internet, of a couple who had a new-born baby and got into playing a virtual reality game where they needed to take care of a new-born baby.  They got so much into the game, that they neglected their own baby, and their baby died.

I think that gaming can be a wonderful way of developing a child's cognitive abilities, however like anything, there has to be a balance.  Being a parent myself, I understand how difficult it can be to find that balance.


Thank you for reading!

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