Make gaming a positive experience

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.

Discussion points

  1. Explore the good parts of gaming.

    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.

  2. What are the not so good parts of gaming?

    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.

  3. Brainstorm positive ways to game.

    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.

Things to keep in mind

Play games together.

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.

Understand online gaming.

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.

Get help with online security and safety.

For information on teaching your kids about safety (who they game with), security (like passwords), and cyberbullying, please visit the Be Internet Awesome website and our Safety Center.

When your child is involved in a game or online activity, hop on and do it together. What can you learn together with them?

Natasha Bhuyan, MD

Try it at home

Family game nights

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).

Explore another topic