Today, kids and teens cannot imagine their life without gaming. In fact, more than 80% of kids play online video games. For a better part of the decade, games have managed to occupy the center space for children around the world.
Now, there are plenty of studies that highlight the benefits of playing video games. But just like any activity, unsafe or excessive interest can lead to drastic consequences. Technically, the excessive amount of gaming falls into addition.
It might sound startling to parents who might even consider eliminating gaming from their kids’ lives. But the right thing would be to follow and practice a parental guide and encourage healthy gaming sessions.
What Should be Parents’ Strategy?
Parents should be aware of the fact that gaming is highly competitive. Therefore, it makes sense for parents to incorporate useful educational apps in a healthy gaming mixture. Educational apps don’t have to be complicated. Instead, parents can simply educate kids about the upside of learning a new skill online, like picking up a new language, or perhaps learning to play a musical instrument (such as piano and its benefits).
The Age Restrictions
In Europe, PEGI (Pan European Game Information) regulations are in place. On the other hand, the minimum age criterion to play certain games in the US differs and depends on console devices. In any case, the last thing parents should do is to generalize an age restriction on every game.
However, game ratings work in the same manner as the movie rating system. The five age ratings are applicable to 3, 7, 12, 16, and 18-year-olds. Realistically, the best thing for parents would be to assess the content of the game and age restriction before allowing their kids to play it.
The REAL Prospects of Professional Gaming
That’s right; many kids in a short period can master a specific game skill to qualify as a pro. However, this kind of practice requires constant support from the parents. If your kid wants to play video games for the sake of fun rather than start a career, it is better to avoid long hours of gaming sessions. Again, games can significantly vary from one another. So, research the gaming community and platforms such as Reddit to find any gaming prospects for your child.
The Flip Side of the Coin
The fact remains that video games is a passive activity for kids. As much as playing games in moderation matters, parents might be skeptical due to various health risks. Therefore, it would better for parents to create a checklist of the pros and cons of playing video games.
After the assessment, parents can encourage more physical activities and implement regular breaks. Similarly, parents have to make sure that kids eat healthily and complete the normal sleep cycle. Once these factors are in place, a few gaming hours a day can be quite productive and spark creative ingenuity among kids. If you notice your kid playing long hours, encourage hand and back exercises to avoid RSI (repetitive strain injury).
Online Video Games: Implement Standard Safety Guidelines
- Parents need to make sure their kids don’t reveal login information, contact information, or personal details to strangers.
- Parents should follow the digital footprint of their kids’ online activity to make sure no private information has been posted online.
- Parents need to stick to a schedule and set limits accordingly.
- Parents need to exercise the utmost politeness to convey new gaming rules to the kids.
- Parents should teach their kids to be respectful to other online players.
- Parents should teach kids to think carefully before posting a comment or remark in a gaming session.
- Parents should instill the practice among kids to avoid retaliation after witnessing a toxic behavior online. It is highly advisable to consider blocking and reporting any abusive activity.
- Encourage kids to ask questions about a gaming session when they encounter an unknown activity.
Watch Out for the Cyber Bullying
Parents need to be vigilant about the occurrence of any cyberbullying in their kids’ gaming sessions. In fact, more gaming sessions usually means more chances for kids to encounter cyberbullying. Your goal should be to make sure the situation does not escalate or impact your child’s mental health.
For example, you can introduce other continuation activities to thwart the effects of cyberbullying. Typically, adult gamers tend to be more abusive and bully players. Therefore, keep an eye on the behavioral pattern of your kid throughout the gaming sessions.
When it comes to digital safety and cyberbullying in the gaming landscape, parents need to be aware of their kids’ online interactions. Of course, not all interactions will be positive. Just like real life, a lot of it depends on who your child interacts with online.
Don’t Hesitate to Support the Gaming Interest of Your Child
It is a brave new world, and it belongs to the younger generation. Parents have to put aside their preconceived perceptions about gaming and let the kids play video games. Excessive restrictions and authoritative measures would only propel the kids to play for long hours.
For instance, parents can take a page from eSports tournaments and Twitch live streaming gaming sessions to understand how kids communicate while playing games.
One of the major challenges most parents are facing is implementing moderation in their kids’ gaming sessions. Casual electronic entertainment is not the same as hopping aboard the train of gaming. In fact, gaming passion intensifies over time among kids.
There’s a reason kids show more enthusiasm towards games than any other activity. And it’s because of the interactive visual appeal. Parents can introduce interactive educational apps that can serve the same purpose. The last thing parents should do is to confront and hide the gaming console. Instead, create alternative solutions and minimize gaming sessions at the same time.
Nonetheless, parents can put into practice realistic and healthy gaming sessions for kids. Once they start to mature into teenage life, parents wouldn’t have to take extreme measures to limit gaming. After all, gaming can be healthy so long as it doesn’t hamper daily routine and serves a purpose.