Talk about video games
Many children and young people spend a lot of time playing video games, but this only becomes a serious problem in rare cases.
- Do you talk with your children about gaming?
- How often do you play video games with your child?
- Are you familiar with the content in the games your child plays?
- Do you know how often your child plays video games?
- Do you know the age ratings for your child’s video games?
- Have you agreed on how much time the child is allowed to spend on video games?
The earlier parents get involved in their children’s gaming habits, the easier they will see potensial issues. You and your family determine what you want to devote time to, and what you think is acceptable.
Different children have different needs and interests, but all children need structure and limits. Setting limits will also help if conflicts do arise. Therefore, get an early start on talking to children about games, and decide how much time they can spend, and which games they will be allowed to play.
Talk about video games – and agree
- Get involved. Learn about your children’s virtual world. Try to understand why they like to play video games, instead of being disapproving.
- Set limits together, and give rewards when they stick to the plan.
- Avoid being overdramatic and avoid using worlds like “video game addiction” when talking to your child, as that will almost certainly ruin a good dialogue.
- Talk to other parents and share experience and advice, but remember that what works for your neighbour might not work for your family.
- Talk with each other, not at each other. This goes both ways. Parents must have the opportunity to ask questions, and children must be given time to explain.
Questions for reflection
- How much gaming per day/per week is OK in our home?
- Why did we decide on that limit?
Would the limits be different if we were talking about reading books or drawing?
- Should we always follow age ratings or can the family make its own assessment of which games the children
can play? Why? Why not?