We all need some advice from time to time.  Here are some simple parenting tips for gaming devices like an X-Box or PlayStation within your home:

  1. Be aware of the fact that gaming can easily form addictive behaviors
  2. Limit the amount of time spent playing
  3. Know that gaming devices offer access to movies, pictures and video files
  4. Set your game consoles to restrict activity.  The only way unsuitable material can be accessed is if the code is known
  5. Console settings also allow you to block the types of movies that can be seen
  6. Use websites like Common Sense Media to know what language games use
  7. Console settings also allow you to choose the type of game ratings you will allow on your gaming device
  8. Movies can be watched on via Netflix, Amazon, etc.  You can control the type of movie ratings that their X-Box or PlayStation will allow
  9. If you allow your child to play online, recognize that you have no idea who they are really playing with, what is being said over the headset, and what files and videos are being shared
  10. Your children can also use the Internet to Google how to get around parental settings so pay attention to what they are doing

Be wise about what they may think constitutes “their privacy” and your responsibility as a parent to protect, nurture, admonish, and guide them.  You don’t protect them by not checking up on them. Every parent believes that their child won’t do these things yet the vast percentage of teenagers are interacting virtually in ways that their parents are unaware.  Do not be merely content to say it is over your head.  Be engaged!  If you get your child or teen a gaming device, then learn how to use it yourself.

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