Clearly, most video games are not as troublesome as Grand Theft Auto. But all deserve the attention of the family media guardian before becoming a part of your child’s game collection. How can parents be sure their child’s video games are OK? Most of us can’t play each one (in fact, the very thought makes the less coordinated break out in a cold sweat). Here are some tips:
- Check it out before buying. Rent or borrow from a friend. If you’re not a player, sit with your child through a few sessions and make sure there’s nothing objectionable.
- Consider the genre and rating. Is it a first-person shooter or role-playing game? Rated E for Everybody, T for Teen, M for Mature?
- Limit playing time, as you would with any other “screen” activity. Ask yourself if your child’s behavior has changed as a result of playing video games. Is he forsaking other enjoyable activities in order to play? Is he becoming isolated? Does he talk nonstop about playing videos?
- Try to find multi-player games that you can enjoy together with your child.
- Check reviews. PluggedIn.com offers game reviews and related articles. Use the site's search engine to see if they've covered the game you're curious about. You may also want to check out gaming magazines at your local library. (Pick out some children’s books to read together while you’re there.)