Online gaming has become one of the most popular ways for kids to play, but it can also be a concern for parents or a source of tension within families. The following guide can help you and your kids agree on positive ways to game.
Have your kids talk about the healthy aspects about the games they play. As a prompt, ask about specific elements often found in gaming, such as learning new information, teamwork, and strategy. If you’re game savvy yourself, it might also be helpful to talk about specific aspects of games that you think are positive.
Now ask them if there are ever times where gaming makes them feel bad or causes conflict with family or friends. Have they ever encountered bullying or threatening language while playing a game? This is also a good time to talk about feeling “left out” if they don’t play a certain game or if they have to log off before finishing a level.
Talk about ways gaming can benefit your kids when done in a balanced way. Maybe gaming can help them improve at a sport because they better understand the strategies. Maybe it can help with hand-eye coordination or reflexes. Or maybe it can inspire an offline activity with their friends.
Gaming comes in many different forms — some may be more positive than others. To better understand the nuances of your kid’s games, try playing as a family.
Many games can now be played against other people (including strangers). Consider this in relation to your kid’s level of maturity and ability to judge who they should be engaging with.
Natasha Bhuyan, MD
“When your child is involved in a game or online activity, hop on and do it together. What can you learn together with them?”
Put family game nights on the calendar and experiment together with different kinds of games. Some nights can involve digital gaming (choose something the whole family will enjoy) and others can be non-digital games (think miniature golf, pickup basketball or simply a deck of cards).