I'm thinking about to buy xbox for my daughter 7-year birthday.

But I'm worry a little bit that it can be too early for this age and maybe it's better to wait?

I think playing is good for brain development and it's better than watching TV for example. She has some game experience on iPad.

But from other side I'm afraid of game addition, which my older son probably has.

  • Alex, welcome! Could you please write a but more: Why do you think it could be a good or bad idea, what kind of information are you looking for, does she already have any experience with computers, computer games etc.? As it stands, this is a bit opinion-based - can we narrow it down to a specific cause of concern or type of answer?
    – Stephie
    Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 19:44
  • Why an xbox specifically? Have you looked into the Wii U? My 5 year old plays games with us on that and it's a little more physical. The games tend to be more kiddy like as well.
    – Kai Qing
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 22:30
  • I thought about xbox, because it's Microsoft. And it has kinect too. But I didn't have experience with any console myself, so probably I can consider Wii too.
    – Alexan
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 22:45

3 Answers 3


7+ seems like a good age, but obviously that's regulated gaming. A CONSOLE IS NOT A CHILDMINDER.

I got my first console (a Sega MegaDrive) at around that age. The great advantage of starting at about that time is that you're not dealing with "first exposure" in the middle of that critical 12-16 exam period, and you're not trying to combine a major shift in their leisure time with good old adolescent rebellion. Basically, you're still at the stage where, when you say the game has to end, you have the automatic authority to end it in a way that just doesn't apply in the same way when they're 15.

Two major aspects spring to mind:

  1. Parents should parent. If you don't know the kind of games your child is playing, then you are failing as a parent. Ideally, you want the majority of their game-playing time to be a shared experience with you. This also means that you should know what are good stopping points and when it's appropriate to march over and switch off the console without killing an hour of progress. At the very least, you want to do the research so you're not helpless.

  2. I'm treating this as an offline-play experience. Frankly, the correct age for someone to be allowed to play online is "whenever they grow up", and having foolishly turned the speakers on before, I've learned that some people never reach that age. At the very least, you should be regulating who she's allowed to play with, and what level of interaction she's allowed (e.g. just playing co-op vs. having headphones on, listening to the gentle sound of sexual harassment).

On videogame "addiction" (btw, the correct/more helpful term is compulsion), there's a big difference between video games being your main escape from the problems of your day and true compulsive behaviour. To be honest, most of the evidence suggest that when people talk about "videogame addiction", it's masking something more fundamental like depression or social anxiety. The best thing you can do there is, again, parent. If you are involved in your children's gameplaying experience, you're better able to monitor how they're interacting with games and what they're getting from it. For example, if they're involved in a group activity (e.g. 4th player in a 4-person raid), then they may be being pressured to play even when they'd rather be done. Which is something that, as a parent, you should be helping them to navigate, in the same way you would with non-digital peer pressure.

There's a brilliant series of video articles on Gaming Addiction on the Extra Credits site that might be worth watching if you're genuinely concerned about your daughter's future or your son's present.

And if you take nothing else, as I said above, A CONSOLE IS NOT A CHILDMINDER.


The correlation between increased aggression and video game use pales in comparison to increased aggression and sports. Something to keep in mind. Not to mention, failure to expose your child to technology at an early age could have long-term detrimental impact on their ability to find work at a later age. While no one can predict the future, technology is definitely a main stay.

Like anything, moderation is key. Don't let your child stay up late, past bed time, playing games. Don't put the console in their bedroom. That's all there is to it.

Something else to consider. Everything models behavior to your child. So, the music they listen to, the friends they choose, the way you talk to them, etc model/teach behavior. Listening to certain types of music may increase behavioral tendencies too (for instance).

  • Hi and welcome to Parenting.SE! Can you tell us a bit more about the correlation between aggression and video game use / sports? A study, for example, for those who are interested. How does early exposure to a game console specifically have an impact their ability to find work later on? Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 12:57

There seems to be a difference between computer games and other play:

  • studies have shown that excessive computer gaming is correlated to emotional and behavioural problems
  • there is no such correlation between behavioral problems and other play
    (this claim might be wrong; see the comment by @deworde below)

While correlation is not causation, while there are also studies that contradict this common result, while computer gaming also has benefits, and while you can certainly control the time and games your child plays, I don't see how not letting your child play computer games might harm him or her.

It's like alcohol. If you let your child drink a sip of beer once, it certainly won't harm your child. But why do it in the first place? What benefit does it have that your child knows at an early age what beer tastes like? None. Sure, if you drink beer regularly, you might satisfy a curiosity that could otherwise lead to your child drinking beer behind your back, but if you don't drink yourself, there really is no reason why your child needs to become familiar with it.

In the same vein, if you play computer games a lot yourself, it would be strange if you forbid your child to do the same. But if you live a life with other values and habits, if you think books are great or sports or being with friends, then why would you help your child build a habit that you don't endorse? Sure, computer games are probably a small risk for a select few vulnerable kids only, but not playing computer games it no risk at all. I grew up without computers and saw my first PC when I was in my early twenties, yet I later worked as a programmer and am more "computer literate" than many younger people. You don't need to start as a child.

If my son plays computer games when he visits his friends, that's fine. Then it is a social activity, and what the kids do together is less important than how they do it and that they do something together at all. But there really is no reason why my son needs to play computer games when he is at home alone. First off, he needs to be able to deal with being alone and boredom, and if he needs gadgets to keep him from feeling lonely then he probably won't become a happy adult. Second, the best control is if you avoid situations that you have to control. No internet, no problems with your kids hacking the kid filter and watching porn. No mobile phone, no problems with your kids filming other kids beating up other kids and uploading it to YouTube. No computer games, no bleary eyed kids getting angry over having to go to bed because tomorrow is school while they haven't yet mastered the sixth level. No s**t, no problem.

For those reasons, my son is always one of the last of his peers to get technical gadgets. He has to get them eventually, or else he will be the odd kid out, but there really is no reason why he has to be the first to have them.


Essentially, your own standards should apply to your child, and your own lifestyle should be open to your child. If you play computer games, share that experience with your child on an appropriate level. If you don't play, then it is something that your child can discover on his own, when he is indepentend enough from you to manage his own affairs. Until then, share the computer-game-free experience with your child. Teach by example.


  1. Violent Video Games

    The following are meta-analyses, i.e. they summarize all (relevant) previous studies.

    The evidence strongly suggests that exposure to violent video games is a causal risk factor for increased aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, and aggressive affect and for decreased empathy and prosocial behavior.

    Anderson, C. A., Shibuya, A., Ihori, N., Swing, E. L., Bushman, B. J., Sakamoto, A., ... & Saleem, M. (2010). Violent video game effects on aggression, empathy, and prosocial behavior in eastern and western countries: a meta-analytic review. Psychological bulletin, 136(2), 151.

    Whereas violent video games increase aggression and aggression-related variables and decrease prosocial outcomes, prosocial video games have the opposite effects.

    Greitemeyer, T., & Mügge, D. O. (2014). Video games do affect social outcomes a meta-analytic review of the effects of violent and prosocial video game play. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 0146167213520459.

  2. Pathological Video Gaming

    While the relationships between video game use and negative consequences are debated, the relationships between video game addiction and negative consequences are fairly well established. ... Video game addiction was related to depression, lower academic achievement, and conduct problems, but time spent on video games was not related to any of the studied negative outcomes. ... Spending time playing video games does not involve negative consequences, but adolescents who experience problems related to video games are likely to also experience problems in other facets of life.

    In other words, if you define video game addiction (VGA) as playing long hours, as most research has been doing, then there is no relation between VGA and other health problems; but if you define VGA as behavior that the individuals themselves experiences as problematic (e.g. addictive), then there is a significant correlation.

    Brunborg, G., Mentzoni, R., & Frøyland, L. (2014). Is video gaming, or video game addiction, associated with depression, academic achievement, heavy episodic drinking, or conduct problems?. Journal of behavioral addictions, 3(1), 27-32.

  • "studies have shown that excessive computer gaming is correlated to emotional and behavioural problems". Citation needed. For example: "There is no such correlation between behavioral problems and other play" is completely inaccurate, as violent sport like football, soccer and boxing obviously and academically correlates with violent behaviour
    – deworde
    Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 16:58
  • True, these studies don't make as many headlines, but that's because the incidents are taking up all the space.
    – deworde
    Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 17:03
  • I am also skeptical about the concept that "not playing computer games is no risk at all". Logically this can then be extended to literally every non-essential activity from singing to bungee-jumping. For example, there is fundamentally less risk of a blood infection not blackberry picking/dog walking than blackberry picking/dog walking. And your logic would seem to mean that your children can only be interested in things that you are, because "why would you help your child build a habit that you don't endorse"?
    – deworde
    Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 17:26
  • @deworde I believe that the essence of raising a child is to raise it in accordance with your own values. If I don't have a strong conviction about something (like blackberry picking) there is of course no reason to influence a child either way; but if I believe that something is good or bad, it is my responsibility as a parent to teach these values to my child. That is, I'm fundamentally opposed to laissez-faire parenting. In the case of video games, I do not know that they are harmless, so I'd rather err on the side of caution. Does that explanation make sense?
    – user4758
    Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 17:31
  • Agreed; my own answer literally reads "Parents should parent"; but my feeling is that you should take an interest in your children's interests, rather than necessarily discouraging them.
    – deworde
    Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 17:34

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