Q: Should I permit my child to play video games? If so, which games should I allow and how can I maintain control?
A: Only you can decide if you want to allow your children to participate in gaming. But if you do, be sure to stay actively involved in the buying process. Here are a few helpful game-purchasing guidelines:
- Always check ratings. This is a good start, but remember that the video-game industry rating system is not infallible when it comes to determining family-friendly content. No matter what the rating says, parents should research the material to ensure that the game is appropriate for their family.
- Read expert reviews and consult other parents. Take the time to research games that your child wants to play. Read online reviews.
- Borrow video games before buying. Before plunking down the money for a high-priced game, try borrowing a game from a friend.
- Set time limits and gaming rules for your family. Mum and Dad should establish the standards. Remember to be consistent about enforcing those rules. You might want to set parental controls if your gaming console or computer game has that option.
- Try the game yourself or take time to watch your child play. Playing video games with your child, or at least watching your child play a game, gives you a first-hand knowledge of the content. Your child will be more likely to talk about the game with you if you’re aware of what it’s about.
Remember, the key to success in this area, as in so many others, is direct parental involvement.
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