Health Watch — Good Gifts: Video Game Concerns

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about finding good gifts for the people on your holiday list. Previously, we discussed the importance of safe, age-appropriate toys. But what message are the toys you buy as gifts sending children?

Dr. Joel Steinberg, a pediatrician at UT Southwestern Medical Center, urges parent to think about toys that could encourage violent behaviors, such as toy guns or other weapons and violent videos or videogames. Some videogames may encourage behaviors that aren’t appropriate in real life, such as destroying obstacles or resorting to violence to solve problems. Videogames also allow children to “reset” when things go wrong, which doesn’t work well in real life. Make sure videogames are age-appropriate for children, and also give some toys that involve play in the real world.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in pediatrics.


December 2008

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