Choose the Right Video Game for your Children

Edited by Debbie, Timbuktu, Nate Pepperell, Adrian Penaflor and 7 others

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We know that video games are quite popular today not only for children, but for adults as well. As parents, we want to do our best to educate ourselves about the games before we buy them, because not all video games are suitable for young children. Did you know research has stated that what movies, television shows, and video games our children watch can influence them either in a positive or negative way? Yes, it can affect all our emotions and our thinking, good or bad. So as parents, we want to do our best to pick games that are appropriate for our kids. You may ask yourself: What kind of shows does your child enjoy watching? Does he like animals? Sports? You might be able to choose a video game pertaining to his or her interests. Is your child afraid if other members of the family are watching horror movies, or violence? Then common sense tells us that we would not want to choose a game that your child would be afraid of, or that could have a negative effect on them.

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To determine if a video game is appropriate for your child to view, here are some tips that can be helpful:

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Steps

  1. 1
    Check out the rating on the video game package.
    The ESRB Organization, assigns the ratings that appear on the back of the game case. It also has rating summaries, that describe some of the content of the video games.
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  2. 2
    Look for game reviews online to find out more information on a particular game before you purchase it for your child.
    The ESRB is a guideline, but it is not always perfect. Sometimes, you will find a game rated one way, but you may disagree with that rating. Doing your research on a specific game before purchasing it will ensure that the game meets your standards.
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  3. 3
    Pick Age Appropriate Video Games.
    It can prevent your child from viewing violence or sexual graphic scenes.
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  4. 4
    Teach Your Child What is Acceptable.
    You can talk to them about good behavior and bad ones. What is suitable, and what is not.
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  5. 5
    Be Consistent.
    Concerning what games you buy, and permit your children to play or watch.
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Undoubtedly, there will be times children will want to play games that their friends are playing, that as a parent you will find inappropriate. Don't be afraid to say "NO". There are plenty of fun games for your child to play.

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Determine content of video games appropriate for children through the following guides:

  1. 1
    Educational Value
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    1. Choose media for ages 0-4 that helps build an understanding of basic vocabulary and numbers and teaches simple messages.
    2. For 5-10 years old kids, a game to reinforce math and reading.
    3. Find something with historical lessons too.
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  2. 2
    Positive Messages
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    1. With pro-social or positive messages.
    2. No negative behavior and messages.
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  3. 3
    Role Models
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    1. A game with characters with different backgrounds and cultures.
    2. Adult characters that play dependable roles.
    3. Stay away from media portraying characters in gender- or race-stereotyped roles. Kids, starting at 4 years of age, are forming ideas of what it means to be a boy or a girl.
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  4. 4
    Language.
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    Kids learn the words they hear. Don't expose them to anything that you don't want them to utter. They may not understand "bad" or hurtful words yet, but they can learn to repeat them.
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  5. 5
    Violence and scary stories
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    1. For 0-4, violence is getting harder to ignore, especially if they are watching cartoons.
    2. Avoid games where the characters use violence to resolve conflict. If it comes up, talk to them about the fact that there are other means the character could use to solve the problem.
    3. Avoid scary games that can affect their personality. When they get scared of the video games they are playing, comfort them with a hug to assure them they are safe.
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  6. 6
    No-nos:
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    Sexual stuff, profanity, aggressive or threatening speech, drinking, drugs and smoking.
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  7. 7
    Consumerism/commercialism.
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    Kids are still too young to understand persuasive marketing that they can see inserted on video games. This has to be avoided. There is a tendency for them to gravitate towards everything they recognize from TV or movies.
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Tips, Tricks and Warnings

  • Get your child a video based on his interest – sports, strategy, or fantasy. These games require strategy and problem-solving skills. Others incorporate an educational component in the game.
  • Talk to other parents. They can give you advice and suggestions about which are good games.
  • Look for the seal of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) on video games. They rate the games appropriate for your child's age.
  • Video games cost a lot. Choose a game with a good replay value before purchasing one.
  • Visit review sites for parents on the net. If possible, try the game first by borrowing or renting it. Request an in-store demo. Make sure that if you are not satisfied with the content, you can return the game.
  • Children with poor self-esteem and social problems sometimes get addicted to video games. These are often intelligent and imaginative children who have only few friends in school.
  • Be careful to monitor your child's game playing time, as it can become addictive.
  • Use Parental Control Options.
  • Show an interest in your child by playing games with them.
  • It is best to set a limit on the time when your kids play video games. On regular school weeks, let them play starting Friday afternoon up until Sunday early afternoon. Then let them have time on Sunday afternoon to prepare for their academic needs for Monday. Then, the whole school week, absolutely no video gaming up until Friday afternoon again. Then on exams week, even weekends are off limits to video games. This is their chance to study extensively for the exams during the weekend.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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Article Info

Categories : Parenting

Recent edits by: Derek S, Lynn, Nerissa Avisado

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