Really interesting research has come out of Game this week and as it is the prime buying season I think that it is a timely reminder to be aware of the implications of gaming. We are raising a generation of children that have been born playing consoles and having an online existence from a very young age. Many children are more aware of games and consoles than their parents. My own gaming experience came from a spectrum zx and chuckie egg on the old BBC computer. Hardly comparable to today’s plethora of consoles and games available.
Whilst there are many great things about gaming and there are great games for children of all ages I was surprised that many parents are not aware of PEGI ratings. We have many devices in our home and it is definitely Dylan who is the most attached to gaming. I think it is a boy thing and whilst girls are often influenced by teen magazines and the media I think games are the boys equivalent.
GAME have introduced a GAME Junior area on both the website and in store to help consumers know what is age appropriate, this is a great move in my mind especially when faced with the following points:
1. Nearly half are unsure what to buy – meaning the purchasing power lies with the children
2. 40% make excuses not to play games with their children
3. Parents who play video games with their kids are more likely to see the benefits compared to those that don’t who feel more cautious
To give that power back to parents, and alleviate concerns that most families can relate to, GAME have worked with family gaming expert Andy Robertson on a video which gives advice on how to manage gaming in the home.
How we manage responsible gaming:
1. Dylan is allowed to play but we have agreed time sessions.
2. There must be an hour switch off before bed, otherwise he struggles to relax before bed.
3. No games are to be played that are not PEGI suitable.
4. We do not use any online features at his age.
5. At weekends we ensure that Dyl plays outside (he plays football Saturday mornings anyway. This is a challenge as he would often prefer to spend the day gaming.
6. Line up other activities, we find that if there is something else to do he will gladly join in, but if nothing is on hand he would ask to game.
7. Dylan always has to ask to turn on the Xbox.
8. We do chat about the games and he knows that he has to be responsible. to be fair he only really plays Fifa!! He is football obsessed!
I would be really interested to know what your house rules are on gaming as I do think it is an issue. Do you let your children play games that are older than the PEGI ratings? It seems some of Dylan’s friends do as the parents don’t see it as a behaviour influencer.
However as a teacher I am very aware of how the media affects us. I think gaming can desensitize children or give them a distorted view of reality, therefore it our responsibility as parents to moderate what they play.