Does Early Exposure To Video Games Impact The Ability Of Children To Self Regulate?

Piyush Kumar ShrivastavaJul 4 . 5 min read


Self-regulation means to react as per the situation in a controlled manner and the ability to adapt as per the changes happening around. To control impulses and maintain calm and composure in behavior is also a major part of self-regulation.

For Children, Self-regulation is dependent on various factors like their daily routine, the surroundings they are living in, interaction with other children, and parental observations on their way of reactions.

Children love to play games and the most interesting game they find is a videogame. Videogames include lots of features that bind the children to nonstop playing. But, early exposure to Videogames has effects on children. 

As soon as the child starts spending a few numbers of hours playing video games daily, the effects start to appear.

Irregular routine

Videogames are so addictive and especially for children, that it starts impacting them in their daily lives and habits. The hours of playing extend so much that they wake up till late in the night to play video games and hence, sleeping late is not able to sleep for proper time till the wakeup time for School. This disturbs their routine in School also.

Furthermore, it has also been seen that they start skipping meals to play video games at that time which starts affecting their health gradually. Some Children make online community to play videogames and leave all other things/tasks/work no matter how important it is to join the squad online for playing the game.

Very less or no Outdoor gaming/ Physical exercise

Glued to the screen and pressing buttons on Joystick sitting at one place is the ideal view of a child playing a video game. No physical movements at all are required for playing the game and this becomes a habit very soon. The child likes to spend all the time and does not want to go outdoors playing. So, the physical exercises are almost completely stopped and the effects start to appear on the child’s body.

Eyes start getting red and itchy due to continuous screen watching. The vision also starts getting affected and in some cases, a child has to get spectacles and advised to not play games anymore.

Impulsive Response

The situation that a child faces during playing the videogame is extraordinary and requires impulsive reactions to handle multiple tasks in the game. This starts reflecting in their daily life reactions also. The child is not able to focus on one thing properly due to the habit of focusing on multiple things at one time. The child’s reactions are also not simple or normal as per the situation, i.e. they become hyper-reactive and feel dull in performing normal daily life tasks. Sometimes children start getting angry about small things or seem irritated most of the time.

Interaction with others

In some cases, this is also observed that children exposed to video games very early find it difficult to interact with other children in class or any group activity. They like to stay alone in one corner than to interact with other children. Also, they like to stay out of someone’s attention. Behaving very aggressively with other kids has also been observed in few cases. Snatching out someone else’s toys/ things if they like it a lot is also observed. 

Moreover, the child does not feel comfortable interacting or reacting normally in some group or with other people. Hence, the child finds it very difficult to self-regulate in groups.

Violence in Games

Most of the games now include violence or sexual content or profanity or some other things which may not be perceived by the child in the right manner. The child is not well understood about the depth of these things and starts getting affected. Children start fighting with other siblings or children very often. They find the use of force as a primary and deciding factor to achieve anything. Being exposed to guns in video games at such an early stage impacts them adversely and they start taking it very lightly as a normal day usage machine. They start getting motivated by these highly exciting things only and find other normal toys dull.

This has become a trend in almost all the videogames and is impacting the children adversely changing their normal patterns of thinking.

So, in concluding these facts, parental guidance/control on playing video games and minute observations of children's behavior is very important. Some changes are necessary to be made like:

  • Motivating children to play outdoor games and involve in physical activities/exercises as much as possible
  • Minimum exposure to mobile phones or videogames with parental control
  • Making the child feel easier to interact and play with other children
  • Making them understand gradually about right eating habits and regulated daily routine

These small things can make big difference in children being self-regulative.



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