By Daniel Sherwin December 2, 2021
People from just about every demographic imaginable enjoy video games as a hobby. Video games have become increasingly ubiquitous over the past few decades. Games are now incredibly accessible. They are available with just a few taps on any smartphone or game console, so it’s equally important for parents to ensure their kids are playing video games safely. Courtesy of HomeBaseInc, there are steps that any parent can take to guarantee that young children are participating in a safe environment and building good habits.
Verify That Games Are Age-Appropriate
The first and easiest thing you can do to create a safe gaming environment is to make sure that your children are playing age-appropriate games. Video games cover a wide variety of subject matters, with some games containing mature themes, violence, or dark atmospheres that may scare young players. In the U.S., the Entertainment Software Rating Board assigns ratings to all video games that receive a commercial release, with the "E" for "Everyone" rating indicating that the game is considered appropriate for any age demographic. To further guarantee that your children are playing the right kinds of games, consider learning how to use the parental control settings on your kids’ devices.
Get Involved in the Hobby
Encouraging good habits is just as important as setting boundaries. That's why it can be beneficial for parents to get involved in their kid's video gaming. Research shows that parents playing games with their children has positive effects on the family. Enjoying video games together can lead to relationship building, educational opportunities, and simple family fun. When your child sees that you're having fun too, it will be easier to set healthy screen time limits as well. If you’re new to the hobby and tech in general, sites like Tech Pro Daily can help you discover everything from great gaming laptops to the best modems for gaming.
Teach About Online Interactions
Perhaps the most important thing a parent can do in the modern day is to teach children about online interactions. Interacting with anonymous strangers is a core element of many online video games that your kid may want to play. While it may sound a bit scary, chatting virtually can be completely safe as long as a few basic guidelines are followed. Most vitally, children should be taught to never share personal information with strangers online. Beyond that, you can tell your child to make sure that any webcams are turned off if you are uncomfortable with them communicating to strangers. If your child is using a headset with a built-in microphone, make sure you disable the microphone in the audio settings of your PC. This will prevent them from participating in group chats, which can often be a hotbed of toxic behavior.
Be Aware of Microtransactions
A final consideration for parents to be aware of is the inclusion of microtransactions contained within many modern video games. These types of games allow players to spend seemingly unlimited amounts of money on cosmetics, characters or additional game features. Be wary of storing your payment information on gaming devices that your child may use, as younger players may make a large number of in-game purchases without understanding their own actions.
Video games are phenomenal examples of interactive entertainment. Children and people of all ages can be immersed in wonderful storytelling experiences through video games while also honing problem-solving skills and broadening their horizons in many ways. These benefits can only truly be enjoyed by following safe practices, especially where children are involved. To further enjoy video games, you'll need up-to-date gear you can rely on.