The Disadvantages of Using Games As a Learning Tool

by Chanel Adams ; Updated September 22, 2017

Educational games played using the Internet, computer or television can help children learn about spelling, math, reading and other subjects. They may also increase students' interest in school. But even though they’re helpful, educational games can have disadvantages, affecting students both mentally and physically. It’s best to use educational games as a supplement. Reduce time spent playing these games by having children study or play outside.

Physical Strain

It's easy for children to feel addicted to computer and online games, and they will sit in a certain spot for hours on end playing them. This long-term use can result in neck aches, back aches, repetitive strain injuries, eyestrain, headaches, fatigue and mood swings. To avoid these physical symptoms, encourage children to take breaks from the game. Allow them to play the educational game for 30 minutes to an hour, but make sure they stay active as well, by playing outside or on a school sports team.

Mental Effects

Educational games can affect children mentally. For instance, children may want to play until they win or advance in the game. According to studies done at Newman University College in Birmingham, England, this determination can cause low self-esteem or aggressive behavior, especially if children keep losing at the game. Additionally, because these games can become so addicting, overuse can cause social isolation and poor social skills. It’s important for your child to interact with the world around him and spend time with his friends and family.

Wasted Time

Educational games can also be a major time-waster, taking away from time that your child could spend studying, being active or participating in social events. Enforce rules with your child about gaming. Let him know that he needs to finish his homework or studying before playing any games, including educational games. Set time limits for playing educational games, to prevent him from wasting time.

Negative Behaviors

If a game requires children to “shoot” at objects or people, it may encourage violence. Your child may want to copy some of these behaviors with friends or family members. Before giving your child an educational game, investigate its content. If something within the game is objectionable, you can either prevent your child from playing it, or talk about the game beforehand. Let your child know that it’s only fantasy, and that she shouldn’t demonstrate these acts in real life.

About the Author

Based in Massachusetts, Chanel Adams has been writing since 2009. Her work has been published by the "Lowell Sun," MadeMan.com, Coed Media and other print and online publications. She has knowledge in fashion, careers, health, education, computers and electronics. Adams has an Associate of Science in administrative medical assisting from San Joaquin Valley College.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera playing video games image by Lisa Turay from Fotolia.com