Let’s face it, your kid likes video games and, you are slightly concerned. After all, there is a lot of graphic violence, nudity, profanity, etc. in video games. So, how can you choose video games for your children that they will like and you will approve of? Try the following tips:
•Think about your children’s interests when looking for games. If your child loves animals, choose games with animals. If they are interested in sports consider EA sports video games. If they like fantasy choose from any number of fantasy games. If they like to strategize, then get a strategy-style game. Obviously your child will like games that appeal to their interests.
•Talk to other parents for advice and suggestions of good games. If you want great video games for your kids, learn from other people’s experiences. You can be sure that if a game is not appropriate for your kids, despite the ESRB rating, another mother will let you know. People are quick to share criticisms. If you do not know other mothers who have kids that play video games you can go online and look for reviews. This is a great way to see what other gamers and parents say about the games you are considering.
•Find games that have the appropriate Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating for your child’s age. This is a big way to eliminate games you do not want, but it is not a good way to choose games. Just because the games says it is for everyone, does not mean it is for your child. It can still contain things like violence, occasional bad words, etc. In fact, some games rated E for everyone display nudity as a “reward” for passing levels etc. But because you have to beat it to get it, it is not always considered when the rating is put in place. So, consider these things, look at what others say, and read the reasons behind the rating. Then decide if the reason for the rating is ok with you.
•Look for games that are challenging and exciting without being violent. Video game manufacturers create violent games to satisfy children’s need to feel powerful and in control, but you fill those same needs, and give your child a thrill without inciting violence. Just be careful to avoid the boring games that think that because they have a common known cartoon character, etc. that they do not have to be interesting. Your child is not dumb, and dumbed down games are not for them, and will not hold their attention. Try games with puzzles, a challenge, and a good rewarding feeling.
•Find games that require strategy and problem-solving skills. If they have an educational component, that’s a bonus.
•When choosing games for girls, look for ones that have strong, non-stereotypical female characters.
•Look for games that involve two players, to encourage cooperative play and to make game-playing a social activity.
Video games are expensive, so make sure the game has good play value before you buy. Talk to other parents, read gaming magazines and check out some of the great game review sites for parents on the Web. If possible, try the game first by borrowing or renting it. Ask for an in-store demo and make sure you can return the game if you are not satisfied with the content.