How to Choose Video Games for Your Kids

Are your kids video game fanatics? So are about half the kids in the US. You as a parent may notice that your child’s favorite pastime is playing video games, this is not likely to change. Many teenagers use video games as their social networking tool. They play with friends, on dates, and online. So, as a parent it is important to know how to choose video games for your children that you feel are appropriate, and that are good for them. Some games are educational, some a good outlet for emotion, some violent, graphic, crude, etc. Knowing what the game contains and how to choose good video games for your kids is huge. So follow these steps:

1.Consider your child’s age. The average gamer is thirty three. This means that most games, like movies and television are made for an older audience, and are simply not intended for a younger audience, even if the graphics, characters, etc. seem childish. It is like SouthPark, the Simpsons, Family Guy, etc. these look like cartoons, but are not intended for children. Your child’s age should be the first indicator of which games they should be playing. The rating system can help you determine this.

2.Know the ratings, what they mean, and what they are not telling you. To determine if a particular game is right for your child, start with the rating on the package. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has created a set of ratings to help parents and individuals evaluate games. This is a nonprofit organization that assigns the ratings that appear on the front and back of virtually every game available for purchase or rental. So, know that they are not rating something lower than necessary for profit.

These ratings can be found at On this site you can also find ESRB reviews and descriptions of games. This means that you can check out beyond the rating if the game is appropriate for your children. The ratings are a guide, not a determining factor, so look into the game beyond the rating. You may find that the intensity and realism of the game is more than you would like it to be, or that the profanity being used is stronger than you had thought, etc. Set your own standard and use the ESRB standard as a helpful guide.

3.Look at the actual game. The front and back of the package carries one of six age ratings. On the package’s back, next to the rating, are content descriptions that explain what might have triggered the rating, and indicate what may be of interest or concern to parents. So for example, it may say nudity, violence, etc. which indicates a high rating. Pay attention to that. You can also see from the game what kind of thing it promotes, whether the characters are appropriately dressed, etc.

4.Last but not least, know what you want them to view, and what you don’t and stand your ground. If you choose a video game you think is going to be ok, and they turn it on and are playing and it is not, do not be afraid to waste your money and throw it away. Telling your children no and helping them set their own boundaries and guidelines will help them to make wise gaming decisions as they get older and move out. You have to be stern and help your child make wise choices, even if it is hard.

Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "How to Choose Video Games for Your Kids." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 8 Mar. 2008. Web. 31 Aug. 2015. < >.

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By . Originally published March 8, 2008. Last modified March 8, 2008.

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