There are many fun and engaging video games out there that actually help children move around, develop social skills and learn. However, not all video games are helpful. Some video games might scare a young child or make an older child unnecessarily combative or aggressive. Knowing when to let your child play and when to stay away will help you harness the power of video games for good in your child’s life.
Look at the Rating
The first thing you should do in deciding whether to let your child play a particular video game is to look at the age rating on the game box. ERSB ratings suggest age appropriateness and highlight content that may trigger a specific rating such as violence, language, sexual content and use of drugs. Use the rating to protect your child from material that is inappropriate for his age or maturity level.
Know the Negative Side Effects of Video Games
Every child is different, but studies have shown that the following negative side effects are possible when children play video games or watch TV shows that are not appropriate for their age.
• Foul language
• Aggressive play
• Increased use of violence to solve problems
• Unrealistic fears about their own safety
• Lack of empathy for others
Weed out non-age appropriate games in your home. Tell your child that he or she is not to play inappropriate games at friends’ houses and use reasonable consequences when he or she breaks this rule. Buy or rent age-appropriate games and play them with your child so that playtime remains fun and productive.