A team at King Khalid University completed a study entitled "The Social, Psychological and Educational Impacts of Computer Games on Children" (A Field Study on Parents in the Aseer Region). The study reviewed the pros and cons of these games on the psychological, social and educational development of children. It also ended up with the results of the field study done by the team plus the proposed recommendations.
The Dean of the Research and Advisory Studies Institute at King Khalid University, Dr. Abdul Latif Al-Hadithi, said that this study is gaining importance in relation to raising children, rationalizing their behavior and maintaining their psychological balance. It is an obsession for most families. Although it is natural in any human culture to practice educational/entertainment games, which rely on societal principles to highlight the individual abilities of children, today's games, due to the information revolution, occupies the lives of children and adolescents. We get used to the scene of the child who plays computer games alone for long hours. Therefore, this phenomenon and its dimensions require conscious supervision and deep understanding.
Al-Hadithi added that psychologists, educators, and social workers from our faculty participated in the study. The study targeted 657 parents of primary and middle school students in the Aseer region. The percentage of male children in the sample was 53%, while females were 47%, 50% were at least 12 years old, and the other half were less than 12 years of age.
The study showed that 55% of the study sample of children in the Aseer region spend two hours or more per day playing computer games. As for the kinds of computer games played by the child, 33% of the games were represented by the mobile phone, 28% by PlayStation and Xbox, and 23% by the iPad. For children's attitudes towards electronic games, 51% of the target sample practice playing computer games with complete focus, attention and emotional and intellectual immersion, which may affect their levels of study and occupy a large part of the child's memory. Sadly, game developers are trying to demolish and overcome the factors of time and space, which is an unnecessary encroachment on early childhood development. This is contrary to education process which focuses on building the child's personality within the known limits.
Al-Hadithi: this study is gaining importance from raising children, rationalizing their behavior and maintaining their psychological balance
The study also highlighted the positive social effects of the child's use of electronic games. The most important of which is that approximately 40% of children acquire the skills of organizing roles when they share with others. Therefore, the child's interaction with these games will satisfy positive social tendencies. The study also handled the negative results, which reflect negatively on the child in terms of selfishness, preference for isolation, indifference to society, and communication with unknown people through the conversations offered by some games.
The study concluded with a number of recommendations, including guiding parents to regulate the number of hours of children's use of electronic games, linking them to the level of educational improvement, holding instructional/educational programs for parents and children about the harmful effects of electronic games and directing families to ban downloading bad programs. The study also recommended teaching the child to play roles in working groups to develop social intelligence, and directed children to educational games which inspire thinking and analysis, in addition to a proposal to create a classification system for electronic games according to (age, cultural, qualitative ...) like the "Entertainment Software Classification Board" and the idea of the Ministry of Education to adopt influential electronic games and incorporating them into the curriculum. Finally, the study advised holding many field studies on the relationship of violence, anger, aggression, and creativity to electronic games and child interaction.