Video games come with a rating that lets parents know who the intended audience is. These ratings range from ‘everyone’ to ‘mature’. Despite the ratings, it is still sometimes difficult to know if the game is really appropriate or not, and many parents get sucked into buying mature, inappropriate, games for their young children. Here are four ways to know if a video game is appropriate for your kids:
The first topic is subject matter. If the game is a war game, don’t even consider it. War games like Call of Duty have tons of violence, realistic gore and massive killing sprees. If the game is about a superhero saving the world, it may be appropriate. Young children should stick to colorful and happy games. Older children will be torn between what is popular and what is age appropriate. Never let a child under 16 play anything rated for mature audiences.
Is It Educational?
Video games have a unique ability to be educational and teach important lessons. The new Amazing Spider-Man computer game is one such game. It teaches children morals and skills without realistic violence that many games have these days.
Is There Online Gaming Enabled?
A large portion of new video games will have online play enabled. Young children should not be permitted to play online, and games with that feature enabled are bad news. Online play often has adults mixed in with younger players. This can lead to dangerous encounters, foul language and inappropriate behaviors being learned.
Is It Too Challenging?
Even if the game is appropriate in other areas, a game that is too challenging will not be useful to your child. A good game will be challenging enough for your child to figure out. If the game is impossible, it isn’t as fun. You can choose an appropriate game based on the difficulty level. Easier games are likely to be more suitable by default. Your child will learn important skills and really get the message behind the game if they can play it without needing help.
The rating system on a game is simply not enough to go by. You should make your own informed decisions as a parent. Do a little bit of research on the game. The above tips are a good starting point for your own evaluation system. If you go by your own rubric, then there will be less surprises when you purchase a game.