Many parents have long been under the impression that video games are something that kids should use only as a past time and they work hard to prevent their kids from spending ‘too much time’ on them. Studies have been done in an attempt to prove that games cause children to be more violent, less attentive, and more socially inept then others. All of those studies, along with the negative views many parents have on ‘violent games’ have made it difficult to prove the usefulness of video games, however a recent study was just released that may just change parent’s minds.
A study was conducted on children over at Michigan State University and was spearheaded by Linda Jackson, the professor of psychology at the school. The study involved five hundred 12yr old children who took the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. The Torrance Tests, often abbreviated as TTAT, are a set of commonly used tests that are administered by a trained psychologist and generally take about 90 minutes long.
The researchers found that the video games actually resulted in the children scoring higher than the children who did not play video games. This discovery was also accompanied by others. On top of the children who played video games being more creative, they found that no other type of technology interaction caused an increase in creativity; they tested internet and mobile phone usage as well. On top of this, the researchers found that the type of video game played by the children (be it violent or not) had no bearing on the positive affect that the games had on their creativity.
These researchers from Michigan University were the first to do a study that focused on the impact technology and games had on creativity and the results were astounding and yet somewhat not surprising as well.
For those curious about the specifics on the actual research done on this study then you can read the full article that was published by the Michigan State University here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563211002147
The study will be featured next year in the journal ‘Computers in Human Behaviour’ and the results bode well for the future. Undoubtedly more research will be preformed regarding this matter and hopefully the full extent to which video games affect youths will be discovered in the future. Until then parents can, without a guilty conscience, remove their children’s phones and tell them to go play video games!
Children are introduced to technology at a much younger age and as a result are more competent with computers and electronics than many adults. Unfortunately the dangers that await children and young teens on the internet can lead to horrific consequences and many parents deem it necessary to protect their kids until they feel that they are old enough, and responsible enough, to view certain websites.
The best way to make sure that your child or teen doesn’t go to harmful or dangerous websites is by installing a parental control program that will prevent them from entering the site. Below is a list of several programs, their effectiveness, and price.
Install / Enable Windows parental control on Windows (Free)
This program is built into any computer that uses the Windows operating system.
- How to install – It is already pre-installed. To activate go to “Start”, click “Control Panel”, go to “User Accounts”, click “Set up Parental Controls”. Once you are there, you can decide which user you want to set parental controls on by selecting them. You can also adjust the settings so that you can put on time limits to their web use, even restrict them from going to certain websites, and even prevent them from running certain programs on the computer.
- Effectiveness- It is effective for younger children, although as they get older they may easily find ways past the parental controls. Whether they manage to infiltrate your account by discovering your password (don’t write it down), if they use a proxy to bypass the controls, or they can use a password recovery program to learn the administrator password and unblock themselves.
- Cost- This is a free program and is standard with Windows OS. There are no fees or any other restrictions.
Download OnlineFamily Norton free to protect your children from online vulnerability (Free and Paid)
This is a free program that you have to install on your computer. It has the same basic features but it also incorporates a messaging system that notifies the parent when the child accesses a site, how long they were on it, and what they put in a query box.
- How to install – Go here and install. You can choose the paid program if you like the additional features it offers. There are complete instructions for installation and setup on the site.
- Effectiveness- this is just a little more effective than the basic windows program. It allows you to set time limits and even sends you email notifications on what your child is doing while they are online. It provides the same adjustable settings and you can customize it for each user. Unfortunately the same methods to bypass the Windows program apply to this program.
- Cost- This program is free and just requires you to sign up as a member. There is a paid subscription available for $49.99 that offers more features.
Download Net Nanny (Paid)
This program requires you to pay for a subscription. It offers a few more features than the previous two programs and is highly recommended amongst users for its ease of use and effectiveness.
- How to install – Go here and proceed to purchase the program, and then follow the guided steps that help you install it.
- Effectiveness – This program is excellent for social networking sites and games and makes it easy to set controls and time limits for each user. It also boasts a great user interface that is easy to use and very explanatory. Once again, a computer smart child will be able to bypass the security restrictions on this by using proxies, learning your password, or other methods.
- Cost- you have to pay $29.95 for 1 copy of Net Nanny. You are ensured with a 15 day 100% money back guarantee.
Other free parental control programs:
1) Windows Live Family Safety
3) K9 Web Protection