How to Moderate Your Kid’s Gaming Time
Updated on 08 November 2016
If your child is growing to favour playing games on their mobile device or PC instead of spending time outside – don’t worry! In this article, we’ll be looking at some ways to help them play in moderation, and shift part of their enthusiasm for video games into productive activities that will contribute to the growth of an active mind and body.
Apply the brakes
Before you pull the plug on video games altogether, have you wondered why they’re so addictive? Addiction can be due to their challenging nature. Apart from pure entertainment value, games help children learn by feeding their imaginations, challenging their brains with problem solving, and training their motor skills.
If it’s apparent that your child needs to cut down drastically, try to avoid an outright ban. Instead, install parental control software on their computer that limits the amount of time they can log on each day.
Alternatively, create a household currency for gaming time. For example, they’ll earn 5 coins for doing their homework or chores. They can then exchange 10 coins for an hour of screen time.
Give gaming a go
In the long run, it’s a good strategy to get involved in their hobby. Research their favourite games, evaluate them for yourself and use the information to bridge their online interests with fun, offline activities.
For instance, a passion for crafts and outdoor adventure games presents a good opportunity to attend a real craft workshop or suggest a family camping trip. With a little nudge, the things they love online may very well help to unleash their potential in new offline activities.
Set in-game goals
There’s also an art to getting them to stop. Most of us know how it feels to have someone interrupt us just as we’re getting to the good part in a book or a thrilling film. That’s how hearing “come to dinner!” feels to your child.
Instead, give advance warning, or work with them to set daily goals worth celebrating within their games. For example, a goal might be to make it to the end of World 2-2 in Super Mario Bros. With this in place, they’ll spend their time more focused and in pursuit of the finish line. When they complete a goal, it’ll be easier to put the controllers down as opposed to when they were playing with no end in mind.
Introduce them to tech skills
As they continue to spend time on video games, don’t miss the opportunity to teach your child about the hardware or software that powers it. For example, get them acquainted with the anatomy of computers and mobile devices, and how they work. Make a project out of sourcing computer parts and building an actual running device together.
Another idea is to introduce your child to coding. There are numerous free courses online catered to children, encouraging them to explore the language that their favourite games are built from. This gives them a chance to appreciate a game as it was intended, as well as the work put into creating it.
At the end of the day, you know your child best. Trust your instincts to make a call on what’ll work for them. If it’s done right, it’ll pay off in bringing them closer to discovering their potential – both online and off.