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Children and families start playing video games together. Some parents even prefer that their children enjoy spending time alone or with friends rather than doing chores around the house. Today, however, playing video games has become almost mandatory for young children, and they want to continue to enjoy them throughout childhood. The question is how to get started. This article offers some suggestions.
Play a game you really like.
You can play games on your own computer, but many people also have a family-oriented console (such as an Xbox 360), which allows two players to compete against each other in one of several different types of games. Look at the games your child likes most and see if there are new ones available every month. You might be surprised about how much your child enjoys this form of entertainment.
Choose games that teach skills.
Games that teach math or reading skills often include puzzles, such as those found in educational software programs, or require solving codes. These same skills can be taught through board games, card games, or video games.
Make sure your child’s eyes do not strain.
If you notice any eye problems when your child plays video games, make sure he or she goes outside to practice periodically. Many eye disorders occur because the eyes need more exercise than they receive while playing games. It is important for children to spend time outdoors, especially during daylight hours. Try to limit the amount of screen time your child spends watching television, movies, and videos.
Most children will find it easier to focus on a game if you do not allow other activities while they’re playing. If your child watches TV, talk quietly to him or her so that they cannot hear the sound and movement on the television, and try to limit the number of things he or she sees on the television.
It is unrealistic to expect a child to devote all his or her free time to video gaming. Your child should keep up with homework and maintain good grades. He or she should set aside time to read books and watch television shows instead of playing games.
Keep track of progress.
Your child may report that he or she is getting better at a game, but without measuring improvement on tests, you will not know whether your child is learning anything. To measure performance, use standard test scores or grade reports from school.
Practice makes perfect.
Every time your child completes a level in a video game, ask him or her what was difficult about completing it. Then go back and do it yourself. You will likely find out the answer.
Video games are meant to be enjoyed and played. Just remember that children should always be supervised when using computers, consoles, or handheld devices. Children under 18 must be supervised by someone who knows the correct procedures for operating these equipment safely.
Remember that no game is worth losing control over your child. Talk to him or her regularly about life issues, including safety precautions, responsibilities, and respect. Explain why you think certain behaviors are right or wrong. If your child does something that causes harm to another person or property, explain the consequences.
Kids love to work hard, but they also need encouragement. Praise your child when he or she accomplishes goals, even if it means little or nothing. Don’t criticize, don’t blame, just praise. When your child achieves success, let him or her know how proud you are.
Use parental controls.
When setting up an account on a console or computer, select parental controls that restrict access to inappropriate content. When your child has a problem downloading, installing, or accessing inappropriate material, take immediate action. Your child needs to learn that it isn’t okay to download explicit pictures, sex tapes, or violent movies.
As part of your role as a parent, monitor your child’s online activity using parental controls. This way, you’ll be aware of changes in behavior which might signal potential problems. For example, if your child starts spending too much time with strangers, begins missing classes, or becomes depressed,