Video Games Tips for Parents
The phenomenon of the internet collides with the entertaining world of video games in ways that are at times fantastic and at others, disastrous. For parents, internet gaming has it's positive and negative points, but what in the realm of parenting doesn't have it's points on both ends?
As an advocate of reasonable and sensible restriction to the amount of time children spend on the computer, the information presented may seem somewhat biased. Ultimately, raising your child is up to you, but holding information from all points of view is never a bad thing.
Allowing your children to play age-appropriate games is not only an important way to provide them safe entertainment, but can assist in the development of your child socially and intellectually. Offering options which are above their level of comprehension can cause undue frustration and aggravation for your child.
Video Game Addiction
As I talked about in my previous hub on video game addiction, video game addiction is very real, and for impressionable children - very dangerous. Children are meant to run around, play, get into trouble and generally experience life - not spend their hours in front of a television set. (The previous statement is a copyrighted gamergirl opinion based on experience assisting in the development of three children so far, and may not be the opinon of others.)
As a parent, it is your duty to raise your child healthy, cared for and to foster in them senses of responsibility while encouraging creativity and joy. Take it from me, up until high school age, a child won't miss something that they're only experiencing in moderation. Here are some tips to help keep your child from developing a video game addiction:
- Introduce tv time as a family activity, and in small doses at a young age.
- Don't leave the television on all day long - make a schedule of tv time for your family.
- Adopt playtime habits (for you AND your child) which involve outside play, learning toys and hands-on activities.
- Be proactive regarding video game addiction by giving options for entertainment away from the tv or computer.
- Be consistent! If you are going to limit your child's video game time, be courteous and limit your own while they are awake.
- Absolutely let your children play video games, but since you're the one who buys them - buy wisely! Buy age appropriate games for your children, and let them have feedback as to which of a small selection they would like to play.
Video Games for Young Children
I have one product as far as video games go for children under the age of 10 which will last you -forever- if you work it right. The video game system for toddlers and elementary school students that I recommend is called Leap Frog, pictured to the right, and it is a fantastic tool for entertaining and teaching your child. Here are some games that come with the Leap Frog entertainment system that are made to provide educational fun for your little ones:
Video Games for Preteens and Teens
As your children progress out of the Nick Jr. phase and into the downward slide into adulthood, their tastes in games is going to change, and their ability to vocalize their interests will become more refined. Hopefully they have learned to play in moderation, or have developed interests which lie outside of the world of computer games and video console systems by now. It's fine at this stage to move on to games rated T for teen, and is a judgement call on your part as a parent.
Here are a few family friendly games rated T for Teen: