Today is National Video Games Day, a day to celebrate the relatively recent phenomenon of gaming. For parents, especially parents of teens, I know there is a lot of fear around video games. Do they promote violence? Are they addictive? Are they making your child lazy?
I believe the best approach when it comes to teens and video games is a balance.
According to a survey conducted by Pew Research, 92% of teen boys and 75% of teen girls reported that they play video games.
With an overwhelming majority like that, telling your teen he can’t play video games is impractical. Plus, video games aren’t all bad. Some are even educational, like “Driving Essentials,” a video game that teaches teens to drive before they actually hit the road.
Your goal as a parent should not be to fight technology, but rather to set healthy boundaries around it for your kids. They won’t do this for themselves. You will have to do it for them.
Here are a few simple boundaries you can set around video games for your child that will allow her to keep playing, but safely:
1. Check the ratings.
The Entertainment Software Rating Board rates video games based on age:
E: For all ages.
E10+: For everyone over the age of 10.
T: For teens age 13 and up.
M: For a more mature audience, age 17 and up.
AO: Adults only.
Stick with rating E, E10+, and T, based on your child’s age. Most teens are not ready for games rated M, even if they are 17. Tell them that while they’re under your roof, these are the games they’re allowed to play.