Parental Guidelines

When it comes to online gaming, parental vigilance is very important. The following are some guidelines that may help you in your parenting.

Be aware of the risk of online addiction. By being aware, you can see the warning signs early and take steps to help your child avoid becoming addicted to online gaming.

Be aware of the presence of corrosive content. Use the ESRB ratings as a guide to help you determine whether or not a game is appropriate. Be especially aware of user-generated content, which is much harder to control.

Set standards for game content in your home. You might consider a policy that you simply won’t allow M-rated games in your home. If you use a standard such as the ESRB ratings to help draw lines, then you don’t have to fight the battle with every single game your teen brings home.

Set specific time limits for gaming. One of the significant dangers with gaming lies in unlimited access to gaming. Gaming addiction requires game access in order to blossom. When a mother tells me that their son is playing World of Warcraft sixteen hours a day, I can’t help but wonder how in the world that child got to the point of doing anything (let alone gaming) for 16 hours a day! By the time your teen is gaming every waking hour, you’re already in the middle of a very serious problem, and as a parent you have to admit that you are at least somewhat complicit in your teen’s behavior.

Set limits for yourself. As a parent you have to lead by example. It’s hypocritical to shoo your teen off the computer and then spend half the night playing Farmville or Tetris Battle. It’s easy for parents to cross the line between using some game playing as an appropriate wind down and slipping into obsessive escapism.

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