In Colombia, more than three million people are frequent video game players. While playing in moderation is not a problem, if it becomes a pathological issue, it can lead to obesity and even emotional problems.
Newzoo, an international video game and mobile app market intelligence company, places Colombia as 37 among the countries that spend the most time playing video games throughout the world.
Controlling how children and youth engage with these games is essential to fight the negative effects that this type of activity can have on them. The following are some recommendations that were suggested in a recent report by La Sabana University:
- Control of the amount of time they are played: Experts agree that 60 minutes is more than enough time for this activity. Spending more than two to three hours a day playing these games or being connected to other digital devices is considered an addiction.
- Age-appropriate content: Check how different games are classified by type and age. For younger children, find educational video games or games that have a valuable content instead of violent or sexually explicit games.
- Provide incentives for other forms of entertainment: Offer recreational and entertainment activities to kids that stimulate their creativity, motor skills and socialization skills and that lead them to becoming uninterested in video games and that stimulate their psychomotor development.
- Identify changes in the child’s behavior: The following are some warning signs of a potential addiction: lower academic performance, abandoning other recreational activities such as sports, showing a lack of interest in social activities, and changes to sleep patterns and anxiety levels.
According to the last National Nutrition Survey conducted in 2010, 13.4% of children between ages 13 and 17 in Colombia are obese. While obesity can occur as a result of several different factors, one of the most known ones is physical inactivity, including the rising frequency of video game playing.