Parents worry about their kids safety playing online video games for a lot of reasons: too much screen time, too often, too late at night, too violent – the list goes on. But they probably have never given much thought to a scenario like this one before.
18-year old Le Van Luyen of Hanoi, Vietnam confessed in August to the triple murders of a shopkeeper, his wife, and his 19-month-old daughter (inexplicably, he also cut off the 9-year-old daughter's hand) in order to pay for his online gaming habit
.Luyen was sentenced this month to 18 years in prison for murder and armed robbery. He took jewelery and gold worth around $100,000 after the crime was committed. He told authorities he needed the money to play Kiem The, a particularly violent online game.
I'm not suggesting that parents need to worry about something like this happening with their gamer son or daughter, but it's food for thought. Maybe there is something to studies that suggest an online gaming addiction fosters a disconnect from reality (Luyen's story is case in point.)
So what can parents do to strike a balance between gaming and offline “reality time?” Do the types of games kids play matter? What are the limits on when and for how long kids can play? How do parents negotiate these rules with their teens?
Every family, every parent, and every child will have different takes on these questions. And as with any other privilege, kids with different ages and maturity levels are perhaps better able to handle more frequent screen time or more violent games. Unfortunately there's no one-size-fits-all answer to these questions. The best thing we can do as parents is to draw lines in the places we know are best for our own children – and enforce them.
-Article contributed by Jenny Evans