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Six golden rules for children on games

SUNDAY MAGAZINE
By Boniface Mithika | September 19th 2021

Video games can be great babysitters, but as a parent or a caregiver our biggest concern should be what and how our children consume the information online. It is not strange to hear  a child using a swear word they have learnt online. 

This only points to how important it is that parents carefully vet content their children are consuming.

Today, we look at some simple rules that would make video game time for children safer and reduce negative effect that might come out of the time they spend online or before a screen. This will let the young ones explore and experiment without feeling like they are limited or watched the whole time

Set time rule

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests time allotted should be under 30 to 60 minutes per day on school days and two hours or less on non-school days.

The group recommends even lower limits of under one hour of total screen time per day for children under six years old, and encourages parents to determine the appropriate amount of time for video games and other electronic media use for children over the age of six.

It is crucial to ensure that your child develops, maintains, and enjoys  non-screen time activities.

Homework and chores should be done first any gaming

Children might be eager to jump into games but this should be done only after one is done with their daily chores. It depends with the agreement you have with your child but they still  need to grow a sense of responsibility. Gaming can be time consuming.

No personal contact with anyone online

Internet is home to all kinds of people. Although some games can be played offline, parents still ought to be cautious.

It might seem fun to make new friends as a child but as a parent you should stipulate the rule in black and white.

Unfortunately, children have been tricked online by people who pretend to be something that they’re not.

Some have found themselves in a dangerous situation when they agreed to meet the mysterious online “friend” in person.

Encourage different types of play

Part of you setting ground rules should be to encourage your child’s growth through other activities.

In as much as digital experience is important, you should encourage your kid to have a varied life by encouraging them to play outside, learn instruments, pursue hobbies and engage in face to face friendships.

Get involved

The best way to understand these games is to play them as well.

Yes, your schedule might be tight but this also is a way of bonding with your children. This will also give an insight of what rules you should set and how to go about them. With the child aware that you actually know the dynamics of the games, might actually make them more cautious about what they do.

Configure automatic rules

The limits you agree together can be automatically set in the console. This enables you to specify the age rating they can access as well as how long and what times of day they can play. It’s important that these settings are seen as door to a conversation rather than roadblocks.

A rating limit is important, not only so they don’t play inappropriate games, but so that you can have a conversation with them about any older games they would like to play. You can then make an informed decision about that particular game for your child.

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