'Video games have the ability to change your child's world view'

In a world of 24-hour news, many families keep the television on for extended periods, unwittingly exposing their children to traumatic events.

The same counts for fictional events, like those portrayed in TV series.

Creative parenting expert Nikki Bush explains why screen time - TV content and video games - can have a formative effect on young children.

We underestimate the amount of fear children can get second-hand from watching things on a screen.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

Children's brains are like a sponge. They have no filters, especially under the age of seven. They have no emotional protection with regards to what they see.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

Bush says if parents do allow children to watch inappropriate content, they must follow up with a discussion.

If we're going to let our children watch inappropriate content we have to be up for having conversations with them because we must then convert them into teachable moments.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

On the subject of video games, Bush points out that as opposed to the passive activity of watching something on a television screen, playing a game involves making conscious choices.

Because of this, it's important to pay attention to the age guidelines provided with games.

If you're playing a violent game for example, you're choosing to shoot, you're choosing to kill someone...

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

They will be repetitively killing, shooting, stabbing, wounding etc - it can actually rewire the brain (because of its malleability).

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

She also warns about the effect on the brain of the fast tempo of music often used in these games.

The number of beats per minute can exceed a child's heart tempo.

Some of the music that goes with the games runs at 120 beats per minute and what that does is that within four minutes of starting to play a game, the pre-frontal cortex shuts down - that's where your thinking, your decision making sits. Then all the content goes into the limbic system, the emotional brain and that's where your values, beliefs and culture sit.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

That's why these games have the ability to change your child's world view and make it ok.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

Parents need to be awake, they need to limit the content. They need to be aware of what their children are playing with.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

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