Video game safety is a common topic of discussion these days. That’s because everywhere you turn, the latest and greatest technologies are being heavily marketed to your children. Electronics are present in most homes across America. Even educational institutions are turning to smartbooks, iPads, and other technological advances to teach children. So, even parents who forbid their children to play video games may find their young ones got their hands on some sort of video game entertainment.
Since today’s youth are laser-focused on the internet, it’s important to talk about video game safety with your children. But, what are the best tips to talk about? And, how do you know as parents what risks are hiding behind the TV or computer screen?
Controversial Topic of Debate
Your child’s physical health isn’t the only thing you need to worry about when it comes to video games. But, you should encourage them to get off the couch and get some fresh air. Or, enroll them in some sort of physical activity that gets them away from the screen. While it is a cause of concern that many children spend hours indoors obsessing over the latest video game release, there is a mental health concern to it all too.
The long-term effects of video games on a child’s psyche is a controversial topic of debate across our nation. Political and parental groups have publicly debated about the claims that video games desensitize children to violence and expose them to inappropriate content. But, parents across the nation still allow their children to play video games on a regular basis. The most common concerns discussed in connection to this topic are:
- Amount of screen time allowed
- Age- appropriateness of content
- Obesity concerns
- Addiction issues
- Video game safety concerns
- The link to violence and aggression.
Video Game Safety Tips
The best way to ensure your child is protected with video game safety is to set your own guidelines in place. Here are some great tips to follow:
- Make a plan that the whole family knows about. Media plans can include scheduled screen time, choices of games, and where video games should be played in the house.
- Set time limits. Children’s total screen time should always be limited throughout the day. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than one to two hours for children each day. And, children under two shouldn’t have any screen time. It’s important to note that screen time includes TV, videos, and all other electronics.
- Be present when your child is playing video games. One of the biggest issues when it comes to video game safety is that predators may be lurking around the corner, or should we say, behind the screen. Talk to your children about what they see, hear, and read while they are playing video games. Take the time to peek in every once in a while and check what they are doing.
- Set parental blocks for media content that may be inappropriate. This way if your child tries to go to something that you wouldn’t approve of, they won’t be allowed access.
As always, the best means of video game safety is to talk with your children and be knowledgeable about what they do when they are on the computer or video game system. Parents should be open and clear about their expectations. And, when you feel your child is at the right age, you should talk to them about the dangers that can come when they don’t follow the video game safety guidelines you put in place for your family.