Video games became very popular over the last couple of years, and with that they became a completely normal thing for young generations. If for parents a normal thing would be to watch a movie or a good TV show, the same thing is for teenagers when it comes to video games. Every kid today likes to play a good video game, and if parents don’t play games themselves, they should consider to try them out in order to understand what exactly these things are about. There is no reason to be afraid of video games or to assume that they are filled with explicit and unpleasant imagery. The most important thing for parents is to get to know the subject in order to understand it better and be aware of how their kids are spending their time.
The first and most important thing to know is that not all games are for kids. Just like movies, shows and books, video games can also be about anything and intended for anyone. Kids are not even the focused group for most video games, around 72% of regular video game players are over the age of 18. The second important thing to know is that parents need to Know what they’re playing, what kind of game is that, what is the story of the game, what kind of characters does the game have. The same way some horror movies shouldn’t be for kids, the same way some video games are not supposed to be allowed to them. Google is always available to be your search engine, and give you everything you need to know about the specific games your kid is playing or has a wish to play.
Next important step is - Read the Ratings. Every game will have a black-and-white rectangle somewhere on the box that says ESRB on the bottom, with a larger letter or letters in the middle. This is the game’s ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board) rating. There are six primary ratings: EC (for Early Childhood), E (for everyone), E10 (for Everyone 10+), T (for Teen), M (for Mature), and AO (for Adults Only). One more essential thing to be aware of is online gaming. Most of video games today are online, that being said it makes it much more difficult to have any kind of control over what is going on there. Having voice chat available can expose your kids to other players which can lead to offensive language and inappropriate conversations. However, there are always mute functions, block options and chat filters. Voice chat is the biggest problem here, because anyone can say anything and offensive language is the most common.
And the last but not the least important step to take is Parental Controls. Parents can always limit what games their kids can play. Every major gaming platform has some form of parental controls that any parent can enable. However, many psychologist advice that the most effective and greatest tool in protecting children from content you don’t want them to be exposed to is education and communication.