What are the negative effects of computer games and the internet on children? How can we eliminate these effects? Can you evaluate the issue in terms of the hereafter of the child?

The Details of the Question
What are the negative effects of computer games and the internet on children? How can we eliminate these effects? Can you evaluate the issue in terms of the hereafter of the child?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

What are the negative effects of computer games and the internet on children? How can we eliminate these effects? Can you evaluate the issue in terms of the hereafter of the child?  

"He suddenly stood up and started to shout. He reacted too strongly because he could not kill the man who shot at him. He tried again. He sat down and stood up repeatedly, and tried to kill the person against him. He harmed his opponent seriously. When his opponent fell down drenched in blood, he burst into laughter. The incidents continued. He fought to death and did his best to harm his enemies. He did not stop playing though his mother called him several times. He was so engaged in the game that he was thinking of nothing but the game."

Similar incidents often occur in homes and internet cafes nowadays. Children and young people spend most of their time playing games on the computer. Parents allow computers because they think,''It is necessary to keep up with peers, innovations and technology; it will help my child in his/her studies.'' However, children generally use the computer to play games. Using the computer may start with a good intention but it deviates from the purpose in the course of time. 'Using computers without control", which is the common complaint of parents, is a very difficult problem to solve even for specialists. 

How do computer games affect the subconscious of children and their lives in the future? Can games that could affect children positively be presented in a healthy way on the computer?

Computer games can be dealt with in two categories. Firstly, games that can be a means of developing skills, understanding life and inculcating moral values;secondly, games that do not enrich imagination, do not contribute to the world of thought, and that encourage violence and immorality.  

The positive effect of games on the mental, bodily and spiritual development of the child depends on the content of the game and the amount of time spent playing games. This amount of time must not be very much or very little. It is possible to establish a balance regarding the issue by educating the child about using time efficiently. Children who spend their time doing unnecessary things can do the same thing when they grow up. To sum up, it is necessary to teach the child the importance of time one way or another. 

Time spent unnecessarily in front of a computer screen causes children and young people to be inactivated.  This increases stress in children. This inactivity causes accumulation of energy in especially active children and affects their behavior negatively.  Discharging the energy from the body through sportive activities is helpful in terms of growth, development and learning to share. Exercise also helps to release growth hormone.  Besides, time spent in front of a computer screen deprives children and young people of taking part in cultural activities like useful games, studying, sports, etc.

Most parents complain that their children cannot express themselves well and that they cannot communicate clearly with others. When you ask your child a question, you get either a very short or a predictable answer. Time spent playing computer games has an important effect on it. We see that violence in computer games is increasing day by day. Game industry regards everything permissible in order to attract children. Images and videos that are not suitable for their age cause the subconscious of the children to be shaped. Anxiety, fear, inclination to violence, sudden outbursts and regarding violence ordinary occur in children who are exposed to videos and images containing violence for a long time. The reactions of the children who watch violent films and play violent games change in time; they use more violence against their friends and the people around. They push and kick people when a slight disagreement occurs. Anxiety and sleeping disorders occur in children who are affected by harmful videos and images; their personal is affected negatively.  

The anomalies mentioned above are seen more frequently in preschool children since the causes and effects of the behavior involving five senses are not questioned by them. The following incidents can be given as examples regarding the issue: "A 3,5-year old child who used to watch violent films practiced what he saw on TV and stabbed his brother to death. A child who thought he was a cartoon film hero jumped off the seventh floor with the intention of flying. In France, a child who could not be successful in computer games developed epilepsy." Unfortunately, we often hear about similar incidents. We need to provide our children with useful alternative games in order to fill the subconscious of our children with positive qualities like goodness, doing favors, compassion, charity and altruism. 

Harmful games prevent children from learning their national culture hence causing cultural erosion. In those games, cultural values of foreign nations are often used; symbols of different faiths are placed in the subconscious of children and our children are affected by them without noticing them. Through these games, Islam is presented like a boogeyman and Muslims are shown like terrorists and targets to be hit. 

The children who became computer game addicts are alienated from their environment. These children, who have difficulty in finding friends, become prisoners of computers and are isolated from the community. From then on, the only friend of the child is the computer; even if the child spends some time with his friends, he cannot get rid of the feeling of loneliness.  Parents need to provide their children with activities appropriate for their development and to balance the time spent for computer games.

The bad characters shown in many computer games play a negative role in the formation of the child's personality . The messages given in these kinds of games like trying to be strong and powerful, ignoring lives of others, killing in order to live, despising moral values, ignoring feelings of others, not appreciating the people around and categorizing people affect the personality of the child negatively. 

Games affect attention and learning too. The images changing frequently on the computer screen cause the child to be distracted, triggering lack of concentration. Besides, too much light might cause epileptic seizures in children.

In conclusion, computer games cause children to tend to regard everything in life as a game, to daydream  all the time, to be mentally busy with the theme of the game even after the game, to convey this theme to the games with his friends and to his attitudes, and to reduce his family relationships and the time he spends with his family.

It is not possible to ignore the benefits of computers, which is a reality of this age. What is ideal is to benefit from the positive aspects of computers and to be protected from its negative effects. It is necessary to establish a balance between the time allocated for real games for the child's development and for virtual games.   Games

- in which children can take part actively,
- that pedagogues and counselors recommend
- that enable the child to develop a consciousness of history and adopt his own cultural values,
- that support attention and development of reasoning,
- that enables the child to develop qualities like sharing, team spirit, charity, altruism, honesty and diligence,
- that arouse curiosity, facilitate learning and enable a child to love learning,
- that are possible to play with the parents,
- that enables the child to obtain the consciousness of duty and responsibility,
- that develop the ability to imagine, think and invent

need to be preferred.

When the organs like the eyes, ears, etc, which are among the important bounties given to man by the Creator, are kept busy only for entertainment in front of the computer screen, it means they are be used contrary to their purpose of creation. Therefore, the vital responsibility of the parents is to ensure that their children use their faculties like seeing, hearing, feeling and reasoning properly and positively.

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