Choosing games your children will enjoy that are appropriate for their ages, abilities and comfort levels can occasionally be challenging. While board or card games are usually free of adult content, the same is not true for computer and video games. Smart shopping can help you avoid bad purchases and objectionable content and make sure your kids will like the games you select.
Look at the ESRB rating on video or computer games. ESRB ratings are assigned by the Entertainment Software Rating Board. An eC rating indicates that a game is aimed at children from three to six years of age. An E rating may include mild cartoon or fantasy violence, but is typically acceptable for children over six. Titles with an E10 rating will contain higher levels of cartoon or fantasy violence, mildly suggestive themes and occasional language. Games rated T or Mature contain high levels of violence, language and suggestive themes and are not aimed at children.
Check for content descriptions alongside the ratings. When selecting games for older children, you might feel comfortable with a higher level of violence, but not sexuality. These content warnings allow you a better understanding of the specifics of the game and why it received the rating it did.
Read game reviews before you buy. Video game reviews can provide you with information about both the content of the game and its complexity. A very complex game may be ideal for a child who solves every video game quickly, while a child with less interest may enjoy a simpler game. Reviews can help you decide which video games are appropriate for your child.
Select board or card games based on both age recommendations from the manufacturer and your child’s skill and attention span. The content of these sort of games is generally acceptable; however, you may want to look more closely at fantasy or role-playing games and use your own judgment.
Try out games before offering them to your children. Many video stores and some online services allow you to rent games for your gaming system. Take the time to play before allowing your child to or play with her when she plays. If you prefer computer games, check your local public library.
- Know your own child and avoid anything that might be too suspenseful or scary for a young child.