Video game dilemma

Violent video games may affect toddlers. Here's what you can do if your child is regularly exposed to them

Q: I love my son’s sitter, but her kids often play very violent video games while my 18-month-old son is there. Do you think this will have an impact on his development in any way? Should I start looking for a new child care option?

A: The environment you describe is not ideal. When children play violent video games, they frequently behave more aggressively. So your son may be affected both by being exposed to the games and by the increased possibility of aggressive behaviour in your sitter’s children.

Express your concerns to your sitter and see if she might be willing to limit her children from playing violent games, especially while your son is in her care. Try to see if there is a way to work out the problem rather than leaving altogether because breaking the bond with the sitter, depending on how strong it is, may be a difficult loss for your son. On the other hand, if your son doesn’t seem to have a particularly deep bond with her, or if she is unable to respond appropriately to your concerns, then it would be best to start looking for another sitter.