Digital Citizenship: Games

I wanted to re-visit some topics related to digital citizenship for parents and to provide resources. In this first post, we’ll look at video games.

That video was from 2013, and I wanted to update the video with a few take-aways.

  1. Video games are poised to take-over Hollywood soon in terms of value for an industry; we’re expecting video games to become far more immersive and life-like, as evidenced by technologies such as the Oculus Rift and Microsoft Kinect.
  2. Video games are not inherently bad, but with all activities, moderation is likely key. Some video games are designed to be addictive, and mastery of the game may require several hundred hours of screen time. Talk to your child about what values you can agree upon or uphold for reasonable game playing.
  3. Like popular music and popular movies, there is a game industry built around games that include content that may well be inappropriate for your child, with themes of violence, sex, and drugs. Consult the video game ratings guide and investigate what ratings games you are purchasing hold.
  4. Games are becoming increasingly social (it’s more fun to play with a real person than a machine). Some games allow for open chat (audio or typed) or may have associated social platforms that allow for direct communication with other game players. Participation in these social spaces could expose your child to inappropriate language or images. Talk with your child to understand their interest in games and ask them to show you how players can interact online.
  5. Look at parent guides for ideas about what lurks beyond a cool sounding game. And, if we may, invite yourself to play with your child (whether it’s a game designed for a mobile device or a console game, or one designed for playing on a PC).
  6. Games, by design, can be a fantastic medium for learning and for entertainment. Just like with food, some treats (or too much one of one food) may not be a good idea for our overall health. Games by design are made to challenge us, reward us, and to engage our attention.