When we think of gaming, it is very easy to fall into outdated ideas of those who use them to escape their waking reality. For example, we all know World of Warcraft for how children used to become addicted, staying inside for tens of hours at a time as their grades fell and their relationships suffered. Of course, this can happen. However, gaming in 2019 has completely outgrown this definition for the most part, and has become as central to our media diet as movies or television shows.
Sooner or later, your children will be exposed to video games. This means that it’s best to grow the healthiest habits now, to allow your child to focus on them as something enjoyable but not overly enthralling, and certainly not a taboo in your household. After all, this can only make the interest all the greater.
With our advice, introducing your children to video games can become a bonding activity, help you explore worlds together, enrapture their imagination and generally serve as a net positive in your household. Who knows? You may even shift your own prejudice towards them. Please, consider:
Friendly Social Experiences
Of course, competition in developing children is best left to highly-tailored sports at school. Learning to share and co-operate is a much more important lesson for young children, and should serve as a means to parent correctly. Friendly social experiences, then, can be worthwhile. While fun titles such as Mario Kart and Smash Bros on the Nintendo Switch can allow for someone to ‘win’ and someone to ‘lose,’ it could also be that having them build a world together in Minecraft, Stardew Valley, or other comforting games that are available for children to enjoy can be a truly worthwhile experience for them. Friendly social experiences are not silly and they are not reductive, and this is important to understand. After all, if you’re to allow your children gaming time, shouldn’t this be the best route?
Upon first analysis, it might seem as though virtual reality titles are not suitable for kids, but as long as you limit their exposure time to no more than forty-five minutes to one hour you are sure to allow them to enjoy that immersive virtual world. This can have positive benefits in terms of their reaction times and learning to interface with a digital space. Games such as Job Simulator or Vacation Simulator are hilarious and fun for the whole family, but these are hardly the only best kids VR games.
Additionally, if you are not happy with your child wearing a VR headset, you can ensure that whatever computer you are playing on projects the world you are experiencing to the screen, also, through a simple toggle in the options menu. This means that while your children watch the television and laugh their little legs off, you can enjoy playing the video game in a designated and secure space nearby. This can be a hilarious time for the whole family.
All worthwhile parents may have seen some headlines regarding gaming and have worried about their children’s growing interest in it. For example, microtransactions are known to prey on impulsive behaviors, and of course, no one is more impulsive than a child. It could be that through your Apple or Google Play account, or the card details you have saved on a console, you realize that large bills can be run up by your child if left playing a game unattended. Additionally, you may not like the idea of them causing a fuss every time they have to come off a console that day.
This is where parental controls can be a perfect middle-ground. Most consoles allow you to dictate what content they are allowed to play (allowing your mature and child-friendly game libraries separate), and also to limit network connectivity, time spent in a particular game, access to purchases and many other restrictions that need your personal verification to enable. This can help settle any parent’s fears regarding the games they allow their children to consume.
Believe it or not, educational games still exist. Those that are focused on storytelling with spelling, or those that require reading to progress, it’s important to consider what educational games are on the market (most now in easy to download digital form) and see if this is most appropriate for your child. It’s all up to you.
With this advice, we hope you can introduce your child to gaming in the healthiest manner possible.