A question I’m asked a lot about at Satellite Gaming events is “how much should I let my kids play video games?” It’s a question my wife and I have been asking as we prepare to bring a kid or kids into our home in the near future. I don’t think that every family is the same, and so I don’t think there’s a perfect answer to that question. I looked around online for what health professionals say about this and found a couple of different answers. I found that this article by the American Academy of Pediatrics contained some of the best answers; funny enough, the American Heart Association says very similar things. To shorten it up, it suggests these key points:
- Create a Family Media Plan
- The whole family should abide by the plan
- Talk to your kids about responsible tech use – this include time they spend on devices and what they might see online
- Encourage offline time and promote the value of face-to-face interaction
- Spend time with your kids online and offline, being a good role model
If you’d like to encourage responsible device use on a more mandatory basis, there are a variety of ways you can do so. All modern devices like the 3 big game consoles from Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, as well as mobile devices running Android and iOS have screen time monitoring and restriction features you can enable. There’s also network devices like Disney’s Circle that restrict your entire network and provide reports and other useful tools for encouraging responsible use.
Ultimately it’s up to parents to decide what is best for their family and how to enforce family rules. The most important thing you can is have a conversation about it with the family and make smart decisions about what’s healthy. Satellite Gaming encourages responsible gaming, and encourages kids to spend time doing other activities they enjoy, being a good student, and staying active in addition to gaming.