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Video Games and Your Child: Tips For Parents

Aug 17, 2007
Quite often, parents will take a negative attitude toward video games without taking the time to inform themselves of the games their children are playing, or even bothering to learn what video games ratings actually mean. Here are a few tips to help you stay game-savvy when it comes to your child and video games:

1) Talk to Your Kids
If you don't understand the games your kids are playing, don't rag on their self-esteem by telling them it's stupid and a waste of time: try sitting down while they're playing and ask them what they like about the game, and who their favorite characters are. They'll be more likely to respect your serious opinions on certain games if you show a respect for the things they enjoy.

2) Learn the Ratings
Instead of waiting for your child to bring home a game rated 18+ and yelling at her to get rid of it, learn what the video game rating system is beforehand and discuss it with your child. Let her know that it isn't appropriate for a 12-year-old to play a game made for adults. By having this discussion ahead of time, you'll set the boundaries and avoid a screaming match down the road.

3) Keep the Games Public
Don't let your kids play their video games in their bedrooms! Instead, set up the game system in a public room. This lets you monitor their playing time, ensuring they don't spend all day in front of a screen, while also allowing you to easily get involved in the game and make sure the content is appropriate. Don't hover, but keep an eye on things!

4) Monitor Playing Time
Video games have become such an integral part of children's social lives that banning video games might actually hurt your child's potential friendships. Many games have also been shown to stimulate imagination and help problem-solving skills, which can be highly beneficial in the long run! Regardless of what your child is playing, however, you should set a daily time limit to ensure a healthy balance of activities within the home.

Following these simple, common-sense tips will not only help you as a parent to become more involved in your child's life, but he'll also have a greater sense of respect for you and your opinions. And if you can bring yourself to try playing, it's a great way to spend some bonding time together! Educating yourself as a parent on video games is important so you can be the parent your child needs.
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