A Parent’s Guide to Safe Video Game Fun

by Guest Blogger Alyssa Strickland

Video games can be a great form of entertainment for kids and parents of all ages. Not only is gaming an excellent way to pass the time on those rainy days, but it’s also a valuable bonding experience to share with your little ones. Of course, many parents worry about the health and safety of their children while playing video games. Although there are some risks involved when it comes to in-game content and interacting with strangers online, you can take several steps to ensure your family gaming experience is both safe and fun!

Choosing Equipment and Devices

First off, make sure you do your research before buying video game equipment. Choosing a console can be quite a challenge, especially if you’re trying to please several members of your household with differing opinions. The best console for your family will also depend on the age of your kids. For example, Common Sense Media suggests a Nintendo Switch for families with young children. Keep in mind that you can also use a basic computer to play video games as long as your specs are up to par.

If you’re buying a new computer for gaming, remember to budget for a new monitor as well! With a little research, you should be able to find a great monitor in nearly any price range. For example, CNET recommends several affordable monitors that include gaming-friendly features like a widescreen IPS display, zero-frame design, and high refresh rate.

Is Your Internet Up to Speed?

You may also want to consider upgrading your home internet plan. Online gaming can use a lot of data, so you’ll want to evaluate your internet speed and connection strength to ensure your family enjoys a smooth and frustration-free gaming experience. There are also some easy tricks you can try to improve your Wi-Fi connection and get a better signal for gaming. For example, placing your router somewhere off the floor in your gaming room could improve the signal strength.

Family-Friendly Video Games

When it comes to picking video games, you have even more research to do. Pay attention to the age rating on the games you’re considering to ensure the content is okay for your kids. On top of this, do some research to determine if the games are appropriate for your children’s ability levels. You may also want to consider whether or not the game is primarily meant for online play, since you may or may not want your kids interacting with people on the internet.

Parental Control and Internet Safety

No matter how old your kids are, it’s important that they understand basic internet safety before playing games online. Make sure you and your kids are aware of the most common online gaming dangers, including cyberbullying, privacy concerns, and personal information vulnerabilities. In addition to good internet safety education, make use of the parental controls on your gaming console. Parental controls allow you to manage what games your children play, whether or not they can play online, and even how much time they spend staring at the screen!

Screen time limits are important for the health of your children. Too much screen time can interfere with your children’s sleep and prevent them from getting the daily exercise they need to stay happy and healthy. Fortunately, it’s easy to get your kids away from their screens. Whether it’s exercising together, signing them up for sports, or finding family-friendly entertainment and games, there are many options available.

Don’t let your concerns about video game safety stop you and your kids from enjoying all of the fun that gaming has to offer. With a little research and precautionary planning, you can ensure your family’s gaming experience is safe for kids of all ages. You might just discover a fun new hobby yourself!

Guest Blogger 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.

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