Did your child receive a gaming system for the holidays or for a birthday present? Gaming systems are enticing to children and even adults of all ages. These systems and the components to operate them are expensive investments, and can be used as an opportunity to teach and promote responsibility too your children.
There are some things to consider when you have a gaming system in your home in the areas of safety. As parents we must set good examples and guidelines for our children to follow. Having guidelines and expectations in place with your children concerning their use of the gaming system can prevent frustrations in the future.
First you will need to limit your child’s play time. The amount of time to play should be relative to the child’s age. Many of these games are built to go to multiple levels requiring increasing skills. They can be engrossing and addictive to children and adults alike. It will be easy for your child to occupy themselves for hours on their game, so you must not allow it too become the “substitute” parent. The gaming system should not be a substitute for exercise and free play time.
Secondly, you will want to avoid shooter games. Try to pick games that involve problem solving skills and not large amounts of violence. Games focusing on sports or musical instruments can be just as challenging and exciting to your children. If your child questions your choice of games, explain to them that you are concerned, and plan to monitor what they are exposed too.
Thirdly, Learn about video games before you purchase them for your children. Research the game on the Internet or ask store personnel about it. Each game has a rating level, which will give you a better idea of the type of contents in the game, and what is age appropriate for your child.
Fourth, Keep gaming systems in areas where you are able to glance at them while your child is playing, and where you able to monitor their interaction with the game or others they are playing with. Newer systems allow children to connect to the system to the Internet and play against strangers. Make sure that you monitor this type of interaction if you allow your child to use this feature.
Lastly, just use good common sense. You know your child and how impressionable they are. Use your best instincts to determine what, if any access they should have to mainstream gaming systems. For younger children their are many plug n play and computer operated games that are entertaining and safe. This options eliminate the concerns that mainstream gaming systems present.