How to Make Video Games Fun and Safe For Your Family
Playing video games can be a great way for a family to spend time together, but it’s important to monitor your childrens’ usage if it seems to consume all their free time. The gaming experience can be healthy and fun, but if your child is left to their own devices they may be subjected to inappropriate material, which is why it’s important to keep an eye on safety settings and time spent in front of the console.
Choosing the best technology
When you’re ready to invest in a gaming console—whether it’s just for yourself, your children, or the whole family—be sure to get a device that’s high quality. For computer gaming, you can find a great monitor for any budget, which will make the gaming experience much more enjoyable. Look for a model that has a widescreen IPS display, high resolution, and a zero-frame design.
Because so many games are played online nowadays, it’s important to have an internet connection that can handle game streaming. Cloud gaming is increasingly more popular, and can allow you or your children to engage with other game players all over the world. If you or your kids want to get into multiplayer games, you’ll need a connection that can handle the workload. Fiber optic connections can help minimize buffering and lag-time, making games smoother to play online and much faster to download.
Best games for family play
For some families, video games have replaced board games for spending quality time together. There are plenty of exciting games out there for families to play together; look for games that allow you to compete against one another, or collaborate to solve a problem together, or ones that are enjoyable simply for their aesthetic value.
Video games are also an excellent replacement for watching TV. Rather than having everyone zone out in front of a TV show, video games can provide your family an opportunity to play together in a way that appeals to each family member.
Tips to manage heavy usage
While games can be a great outlet for kids, it’s important to keep an eye on their usage. Kids who play too many video games can become withdrawn and antisocial—even if they say they’re playing with friends online.
To help manage heavy video game usage, set boundaries for what time of day they can play and for how long. Help them understand that game playing is a luxury, and not something they should do every time they’re bored.
If your kid has been spending too much time playing video games, encourage them to get exercise, whether it’s helping them to sign up for team sports at school or simply bringing them to the park to throw the frisbee around.
Safety settings for devices and consoles
With many games being played online, it’s crucial to monitor your kids’ activity and instill healthy online habits. Check the ratings on games they choose to play. And consider playing it yourself to see if the content is age appropriate.
Some games have built-in parental controls such as blocking in-game purchases, access to the internet, and location tracking. There are even games that allow you to control who your child can play with. It’s also a good idea to help your child understand how to be anonymous online. Unfortunately, playing online video games can leave your child vulnerable to dangerous individuals; be sure to keep your child’s personal information private when playing with anonymous gamers.
Video games can provide a great opportunity for your family to spend time together. So, it’s important to find a monitor that can make game-playing more enjoyable. Invest in a fast internet connection so you can download games quickly and play online without long buffering or lag-times. And while gaming can be fun and healthy for everyone in your family, it’s important to monitor your kids’ video game usage. It is also important to take advantage of parental controls to keep your kids safe while playing online.
Alyssa Strickland created millennial-parents.com for all the new parents on the block. Alyssa believes the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child, but she also thinks it takes a village to raise a parent! Millennial-Parents is that village. Today’s parents can be more connected than ever and she hopes her site will enrich those connections. On Millennial-Parents, she shares tips and advice she learns through experience and from other young parents in three key areas — Education, Relationships, and Community.
Homeschooling Dietitian Resources