Firstly, it's impossible to 'call time' on a Gamer! I have no doubt that parents around the World enter the same battles as I do on a daily basis. If you are the parent or spouse of a gamer, you will know what I mean. How much is too much? What is a reasonable limit? Should the Gamer be able to stop mid game or should you let them finish saving the World before they switch off??
The battle has taken itself to new levels in China, where gamers are facing new rules of play, everyone has to register to play - stating your age. Gamers are then limited to how long they can stay online depending on their age - under 12, then it's just one hour per day, older children are only allowed up to two hours per day. Chinese parents are welcoming this ruling as they were concerned homework was suffering due to screen time.
So is gaming the devil it is made out to be? Unicef has actually reported that screen time could be good for children's mental well being, but again too much can have a negative impact.
Aargh - how much is too much?
A recent survey by AO.com, says that children spend 17 hours per week in front of a screen. Cambridge University say the average 14 year old spends 4 hours each day watching TV or on a computer.
OFCOM estimates the average screen hours per age group is as follows;
3-4 year olds - 3 hours per day
5-7 year olds - 4 hours per day
8-11 year olds 4.5 hours per day
Teenagers - 6.5 hours per day
I remember when children's TV programmes in the UK started when you got home from school and stopped just before the evening news at 6pm. We didn't have the choices children have today, but we would most certainly sit in front of the box and watch it til the bitter end - again on average around 2 hours per day...and watching television, dare I say it is a much more passive pursuit than the world of gaming.
My son is a gamer, he loves the graphics and the social element of gaming, he chats to his friends and plays games with them, even though they are in different houses, in different streets.
The gaming industry is huge and it's growing, by 2021 it will be worth $180 billion, according to Games Industry. Here are some gaming facts that might make you think twice about the industry and Gamers themselves.
- there are 2.5 billion gamers in the World (source; WePC)
- the average gamer is 34 years old, owns their own home and has children (source; ESA)
- 45% of gamers in the US are women (source; Statista)
- 70% of parents believe video games are a positive influence on children, but they are careful about how to manage game time, with 72% limiting the time spent gaming. (source;ESA)