How can I help my family use video games safely?
Set up time limits.
It is easy to become involved in a game and play for hours at a time. But children benefit from a variety of activities. Agree on a certain amount of time to play games and suggest other activities they might enjoy.
All video games teach. Think about what you want your child to learn and then purchase games that fit those ideas.
When your children ask you for a new game, do you homework before you agree to purchase it. Read about the game your child wants and, if it isn’t appropriate for their age or doesn’t match your value system, find an alternative game.
Keep video game systems (or televisions) out of your children’s bedrooms.
By keeping the video games in a family area, you can see how, and how often, they are being used. You can also more easily keep track of time limits. Remember that it is much easier to never put a game system in your child’s room than it is to remove one that’s already there.
Educational computer software may help your child learn.
There are many computer games and websites that claim to help children learn. Most of these games have not been researched to see if their claims are true. Sesame Workshop usually does test their products before they go on the market. But researchers do not have a complete understanding of the long-term effects of these games.
If you want to purchase educational games for your children, be sure they are appropriate for their age and skill level. Be aware if they involve violence. Play the game with your child to see how much they are learning. Don’t forget that face-to-face interaction and reading or being read to are always the best ways for kids to learn.
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