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One of the biggest struggles of modern day parents is deciding how much access children should have to technology. This is particularly the case when it comes to deciding whether or not to allow kids to play video games and, if so, for how long. Video gamers of all ages worldwide play about three billion hours of games each WEEK. New research is finding that high levels of gaming could hurt your child's brain development.

Children and Video Games

There is little doubt that video game industry is massive. Currently, there are about 1.2 billion gamers worldwide, and this industry racks up sales of more than $100 billion annually. There have been debates for years about whether or not video games cause addiction or violence, with little conclusive evidence to date.

It has been shown that playing video games releases dopamine, which is a "feel good" chemical in the brain similar to the rush someone would feel from strenuous exercise or the high achieved from taking illicit drugs. Whether this is harmful long-term or not remains up for debate. What we do know is that video games change brain development, in some cases not for the better.

Video Games and Your Child's Brain Development

Aside from the fact that your children are forgoing other developmental activities in favor of playing video games, there is the possibility of real harm from their long-term use. A group of Japanese researchers has found that children who play video games for long hours at a time are limiting the development of the part of the brain that controls learning, emotion, and memory.

Scientists at Japan's Tohoku University studied video game use and found that it only stimulates the areas of the brain that are devoted to movement and vision while neglecting other important areas. The research concluded with some real concerns that long-term video game use among children will neglect development in the frontal lobe, which is the area that plays a vital role in learning, controlling behavior, emotions, and developing memory.

A Better Solution with Educational Toys

While it's probably not realistic to eliminate video games from your child's life altogether, it might be a good idea to limit their time in front of the game console in favor of some more educational toys. Stem toys and gears toys give children the opportunity to become creative while engaging in the modern world at the same time.

Designed for ages three and up, these educational toys will improve your child's motor skills, spatial reasoning, understanding of technology, all while building something fun and challenging. Children can create items such as vehicles, robots, and buildings, which include working gears that snap together easily.

Video games may have some appeal to both adults and children, but the long-term effects of too much screen time just aren't worth the risks. Engage your child and encourage their development with gears toys instead.



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