Video Game Hints for Parents:
As our culture marches forward into the technology age, video games are becoming an increasingly volatile influence among young people. We as parents need to be asking the same questions and use the same caution about video games as we do movies and television programs: What is the motive of the person who made this game? What is he/she trying to portray in this game? Is this game going to be a good influence on my children, or is it going to teach them something that is harmful? Is playing this game a good use of my child’s time?
Keep in mind that video games are everywhere! If your children have access to the internet, they have access to video games. It may seem like a daunting task to try to be the gatekeeper between all things video games and your children, but with God’s help, you can do it! Below you’ll find some of our very best tips on keeping your children safe while playing these games:
1. Set family rules on video games. Write down some general guidelines about which games you will allow and which are off limits. As you consider buying or renting a game, check the game’s content against your list. For instance, on your off-limits list could be any game with profanity or nudity. This list can also come in handy if your children find themselves at a friend’s house with a new game. Having objective rules set ahead of time might prevent any rash decisions later on.
2. Know what your children are playing. When you are considering buying a game and don’t know much about the content, read reviews on it, ask other families who have played this game, and rent it first. Finally, play the game yourself.
3. Play the game for as long as your child is going to play the game. Don’t just play the game for 30 minutes and decide, based on what you’ve seen so far, that the game is safe. Oftentimes, games contain inappropriate content the higher the level you get to.
4. Set time limits for your children. Children are prone to over-do when it comes to the time they spend playing video games. This is partly due to the addictive nature of these games. Decide what is an appropriate amount of time to spend playing a game, and make this limit clear to your children. But don’t forget to enforce the time limits!
5. Keep the game station in a high-traffic area. Whatever the device your children use to play these games (whether it’s a computer, xbox, gameboy, etc.) make it a rule that it has to stay in a high-traffic area of your home. This way, you can keep a subtle element of accountability on the content of the games and the amount of time your children spend playing them. Children are less likely to play a game which has questionable content when the possibility of an older sibling or parent walking through is hanging over them.
6. Watch an escape from reality. One of the dangers of video games is that they can become a kind of escape for young people. Especially when things in their lives get hard–they are having trouble in school, get in a fight with a friend, or are bored with their lives–this is prime time to want to escape into another world. Some games seem so real and life-like that they offer that alternate world. If this happens to your children, remind them that God designs difficult situations for our good (even though it may not seem like it at the time!) and that these are times we should seek the Lord. Consider taking a break from the game.
7. Don’t just get rid of the game. If you decide it’s time to get rid of a game or take a break from it, make sure to replace the game with something else. Preferably a recreational activity like the game was.
Games for Good
Original article on Common Sense Media
What your kids look for in a snack might be different than what you look for as a parent. While they focus on taste, you focus on nutrition. Same goes for games. Glitzy, big-name games can be enticing, just like junk food. Some are flashy and addictive but do little to feed kids’ curiosity or help them develop.
But truly great video games can help your kids grow in ways you never thought possible — just like delicious, healthful food. So how can you avoid the sugar-cereal equivalents in the game world? Here’s 2 of the 10 tips from the original article.
Great video games:
Challenge kids to experiment. The beauty of most games is that you can try again. And again. And again. Running out of time or lives isn’t so bad when you know you have another chance. A willingness to try out several options — and even fail sometimes — is a skill that will serve kids well down the line.
“Tell” instead of “show.” Playing great games is like being sucked into a book that you can’t put down. A distressed prince needs rescue. The world is coming to an end. Try to avoid games that spoon-feed answers to kids through quizzing alone or rote memorization and seek out ones with strong storylines.
- Keep it in the open
- Know the content
- Set time limits
- Don’t be afraid to pull the plug!