For parents who don’t play video games regularly, when the time comes for your kids to get into them, you might not be sure what to allow your child to play or how often to let them play it. If you don’t play, you might not be familiar with what is new in the video game world. That’s why I give you A Parent’s Guide to Gaming for Kids.
Games are very popular and provide entertainment for lots of people. There aren’t that many households out there that don’t have at least a single video game system. Games are especially popular with the younger crowd.
A Parent’s Guide to Gaming for Kids
Here are five things you will want to consider before buying a console or a game for your child and allowing them to play.
Gaming Console Settings
Encourage your children to play on consoles rather than computers. Consoles give you better control over content and security, as many kids can easily breeze through parental controls on the computer. Kids can be protected more easily on console systems. For example I have the settings on my child’s 3DS set so he can’t go online or download anything without a password being entered.
Before allowing your child to use a gaming console online, be sure that you have set it to “family friendly” options. This will allow you some control over what your child is exposed to. You may also control how much chatting they are allowed. Learn all you can about the gaming console’s content and safety settings. There may be choices offered that prevent younger family members from viewing adult or even questionable content. There may even be options for you to individualize the control settings as well. Different consoles will have different settings.
When the game or gaming console is new it can be exciting and your child (and maybe even you) will want to play it round the clock. This of course is not a healthy idea. When my children get new games I let them play more often than their usual limits but after a few days or a week the regular limitations are back in effect. Every family has a different idea of how much is too much. The important thing is that you are happy with it and that they spend some time being active, using their creativity and being social.
It’s best to be upfront about the gaming limits you have put in place. I suggest deciding before you get the device and write them down. Go over them with your child and have him or her sign it to show they agree to abide by them. If you have gone over them, it’s easier to say, “Hey you’ve been playing too long, time to get off.” if they can look at a clock and see that they have indeed.
Sometimes the cost of a game is not the only possible cost. Many games have DLC (Downloadable Content) which is usually extra levels, characters or extras that you can get at an extra cost. While these are optional, be prepared for your child to beg for it once they find out what they are missing out on. The game creators do a good job of making the DLC something the game player will really want.
Always check to see if you will be charged monthly fees for accessing certain sites. Also make sure that your credit card information isn’t saved on any consoles or devices that your child uses so they cannot buy any games or DLC themselves without permission.
Play Video Games Yourself
If you wish to be an involved parent and keep informed about your child’s video game activities, spend some time at it yourself. Give the game a try, play with your child or just enjoy watching her play it. Be sure to ask questions, and show your interest in his favorite activity. It’s always best to be hands-on when it involves your kids! Who knows, maybe you are really good at video games! I bet you can use another activity to bond with your child.
Not all video games are just for entertainment; some can also help you to learn a new skill. These games are a safe bet for young children. Titles aimed at older children or adults often contain violence or other content unsuitable for children. Do some research online or ask your parent friends for recommendations. You might not feel so bad about your child being in front of a screen if they are also learning.
*The following are affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links I receive a small commission.*