Almost 90 percent of parents say that teenagers spend too much time playing video games, new survey suggests.
With 56 percent of teens gaming an average of 2.5 hours a day. mothers and fathers worry their teens’ gaming habits get in the way of sleep, homework and family activities.
Interestingly, three-quarters of parents believe video games have a positive impact on their children, although they didn’t specify what that benefit is.
Researchers from CS Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan said parents need to strike a healthy balance with allowing their children to play games and setting rules so that it doesn’t interfere with day-to-day life.
For the survey, the team polled nearly 1,000 parents with at least one child between ages 13 and 18.
Overall, 86 percent of parents said their teenager played video games far too often.
Gaming patterns differed when it came to teen boy and teen girls. Twice as many parents said their teenage son played video games every day in comparison with teen girls.
Contrary to popular belief, a recent report found that more adult women play video games than teen boys.
Additionally, nearly half of surveyed moms and dads said gaming got in the way of family activities and interactions or sleep.
About one-third of parents gaming interfered with their child’s homework, friendship with teens that don’t game, or extracurricular activities.
However, mothers and fathers may not realize how much time their children spend gaming.
Fifty-four percent of parents of daily gamers say their teen plays three or more hours a day – but 78 percent believe their teen games less than or about the same as their peers.
‘Many parents of frequent gamers have a misconception that the amount of time their teenager spends playing video games is in line with their peers,’ said Mott Poll co-director and pediatrician Dr Gary Freed.
Parents don’t think all gaming is bad, however. More than 70 percent said they believe video games have a positive impact on teens.
A 2015 study found that teenagers who play video games in moderation perform better in math and science classes.
And a Pew research poll found that gaming played an important role in creating friendships – especially for teen boys.
However, Dr Freed says that there are pitfalls. He notes that teens with attention issues may play games longer than their peers because they are easily susceptible to the constant stimulus of video games.
He recommends parents try to connect with their children by playing video games with them, but ensure that they have strong privacy settings and rules.
Such rules can include setting time limits and encouraging other activities.
‘Parents can play an important role by setting clear rules about appropriate content and how much time is too much time spent on video games,’ Dr Freed said
‘While many parents see benefits in gaming, the activity should not be at the expense of face-to-face time with family, friends, and teachers who play a pivotal role in promoting a teen’s learning and healthy development.’