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February 20, 2023

Kids and online gaming: How much is too much?

By Anthony Limperos

SeventyFour, iStock/Getty Images Plus.

SeventyFour, iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Technology is engrained in our daily lives. We use it to learn and to work, and many use it for play. Today’s children use the internet for almost everything, so why shouldn’t they safely enjoy it? Being informed about your child’s game play will help in understanding how much is too much versus just the right amount.

Online gaming is a form of video game play that allows the user to play the same game as others regardless of their locations. Online video games are attractive for three reasons:

  • There’s a social component to it. Playing online allows users to play with friends they know, or meet new people who also play the games they enjoy.
  • Playing with other people also brings in competitiveness. Competing against people you can communicate with is much more enjoyable than playing with a computer player.
  • Finally, the general idea that we experience greater immersion and engagement when we’re playing with others on a network.

Most kids that play online are not just learning about things in the game environment, they're also learning how to regulate their game play. If you’re worried about video game addiction side effects like anxiety or stress, it’s important to focus on their relationships. If kids are having trouble engaging with friends or family outside of the gaming environment, it might be time to slightly limit their game play.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for kids under the age of 2. They recommend up to about an hour of screen time for kids ages 2 to 5. After the age of 5 to approximately adulthood, they recommend no more than two to three hours per day.

I have a 7-year-old son myself, and we often let him game for about an hour a day. Sometimes he plays only for 20 minutes at a time. It’s up to us as his parents to set those limits and impose them. Parents might be shocked to hear the AAP recommendations, because they could have children that are playing much longer than that. Setting your own limits for your kids and sticking to them is your best course of action.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $501 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University forKentucky.  

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