|According to a piece in The Hindi, online games are no more dangerous to children in most cases than other games.|
The Indian newspaper quoted Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies at Nottingham Trent University, as stating that Internet games could ‘help children with attention deficit disorders gain social skills’. In addition, he said that studies have revealed numerous other benefits including improved hand-to-mouse coordination.
It quoted London University’s Institute Of Education as saying that online games could be used in ‘classrooms to help children learn concepts such as critical appreciation of narrative structure or character development which they might otherwise study in a novel’.
However, safety questions remain, especially with multiplayer games that feature an online chat component similar to instant messaging. The newspaper states that there have been cases of sexual predators using this feature to arrange meetings with children offline.
“It’s inevitable because predators go where children go,” said Anne Collier, Co-Director for BlogSafety.com.
Collier suggested that parents make sure children visit only game sites that they’ve approved.
“Children are pretty smart about this stuff, too,” said Collier.
“I’ve had a 14-year-old gamer tell me ‘I’m always on guard, I’m always alert’. That’s a smart kid.”
The newspaper stated that there are also questions over addiction and cited a recent study by Harris Interactive that found nearly one in ten children between the ages of eight and 18 were addicted to online gaming.
“It is important that people realise that playing a lot is not the same thing as pathological play,” said Dr Douglas Gentile, Director Of The Media Research Laboratory at Iowa State University.
“For something to be an addiction it has to mean that you do it in such a way that it damages your life.”