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Pros and Cons of Video Games (2024)

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June 14, 2024

These Pros & Cons of Video Games lessons will help parents, students and educators learn:

  • Pros and cons of playing video games
  • Tips from students and experts to maximize benefits and how to watch out for the dangers
  • Tips to maximize fun as a family playing video games together

Unlock this video to learn what you can do to help kids have fun and stay safe while playing video games

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Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.
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This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

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Parent VIP Member

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Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

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Educator Webinar Attendee

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This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

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Educator Webinar Attendee

Pros and Cons of Video Games as a Family (For Students, Parents and Educators)

June 14, 2024

Most parents remember the video games they played as kids—remember Super Mario Bros, the Oregon Trail, and PacMan?

Today there are so many video game options ranging from educational to violent video games that it can seem overwhelming to learn about them all. Many parents may be left wondering: are today’s games safe to play or are they causing harm to students? The answer to both is yes.

While there are positives to playing video games, there are also some negative effects that parents should be aware of before letting their students play them.

Educators and parents: Guide your students' reflection and discussion with this student worksheet. (Log in to your Google account and select File-->Make a Copy)

Why do students want to play video games?

  • Connecting with friends - Opportunities for more socializing compared to TV or reading - many games offer chat features and players enjoy interacting with other players
  • Problem-solving and challenges - Many video games, like role-playing games or action games, require the player to solve problems and work towards a goal
  • Edge of seat - The action that many games offer is exhilarating and finding hidden secrets in the game can be challenging and rewarding
  • Fun topic of conversation - Students at school will talk about video games, which may lead to game-inspired ideas or projects
“The games are fun because of the action feeling of hiding, running, and shooting. It can also make you feel better than others because of your weapons.” - Tyler, SmartSocial Student Intern
“They are fun because you can play those games online with other students and it builds connections or feels like a social game instead of an ‘"on your own’" sort of game.” - Ziya, SmartSocial Student Intern

Pros of video games

Teamwork, leadership, & problem solving skills

  • From your own console, you’re working with a whole squad or small team to complete a mission
  • Time constraints might limit you to only one game, motivating you to keep it productive
  • You must be clear with your words to complete the mission, earn new weapons, or achieve other goals for the main character
  • Keeping cool under pressure can help with the end goal
  • Chances to cover for your friends if they need help
  • Learning your strengths and those of your squad
  • Managing your emotions through failure and success
Source: (Theesa)

Building family relationships

  • Gaming as a family can enhance relationships and allow parents to better understand what kids like and enjoy
Source: (Theesa)

Opportunities to dialogue between parents & students

A report from the online safety watchdog, the eSafety Commissioner, finds that getting parents involved in their child's gaming has benefits beyond bringing the family together. It can also help keep children safe online by making them feel more comfortable reporting bullying and abuse to their parents. …Children want parents to see [the] positive side of gaming. - ABC.net, Australia
Young people were more likely to report online abuse to a parent if the parent had either played with them in the past year or talked to the child about gaming. kids that are engaging with their parents and talking openly about their online gaming experiences are more likely to talk to them when something goes wrong online. - ABC.net, Australia

Better real-life friendships & being social

  • Work with your parents to make sure they know you’re playing with your school friends, so they’re more likely to encourage your time together
  • Support each other when it’s game time, but also help your friends to focus on school, so you can have more game time
  • Listen to your feelings and your friends while playing. It’s a great time to see how they are doing in other aspects of life and help them see the additional purposes of playing video games
Source: (Theesa)

Making learning fun

  • Many video games create learning opportunities to prepare students for their future (while having fun)
Why more employers want to hire people based on their video game skills
Gamers bring improved critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence and complex problem-solving to the table. Games even teach players how to communicate feedback effectively. These soft skills are hard to find and even harder to train—43 percent of employers say it is more difficult to teach the soft skills they’re looking for. - Forbes

Eye-hand coordination

new study finds action gamers are better able to recognize objects in motion
Action video games, defined by their fast-paced gameplay, often feature a player-controlled character immersed in activities like shooting, fighting, or platforming (precision jumping) within a highly dynamic virtual environment require players to have good hand-eye coordination, fast reflexes, and strategic thinking to overcome obstacles and defeat opponents - PsyPost

Players learn to fail & learn from mistakes in low-stakes environments

...Failing, and feeling responsible for failing, makes players enjoy a game more, not less. - Jesperjuul.net
  • The challenge inside of games can oftentimes help a student be ok with trying multiple solutions to an obstacle
  • Video games are sometimes used in classrooms for specific learning objectives
  • Benefits of playing video games according to educators include:
    • Coding practice
    • Problem-solving skills
    • Team building
    • Memorization skills
    • Sparking creativity
    • Reading and writing
    • Math (calculating costs, time, and resources)

Cons of playing video games

Chatting with strangers who may not be who they say they are in real life

  • While video games deliver a lot of positives, sometimes those we chat with in the game might not have our best interests in mind. For more information about how to avoid strangers: Avoiding Strangers, Drugs, and Dangerous Situations Online
  • Consider chatting with only those people you know in real life (at school or family friends) and never share your real-life location with anyone in the game
  • Be mindful of the language others use, as it might impact how we feel after playing the game
  • Cursing can make people feel good because it can release endorphins. But hearing others curse repeatedly can cause those words to enter our vocabulary if we aren’t careful (Source: KIDAS)

Hard to put down the controller: Screen time addiction

  • Too much screen time is bad on any screen, but video game creators keep us hooked
Teens and video games: new research on teenage video game addiction
More teens are experiencing video game addiction, which is officially known as internet gaming disorder. And boys are almost twice as likely to experience a gaming addiction. When parents complain, ‘My son is addicted to video games,’ they may be dealing with an actual mental health disorder. - Newport Academy

How does addiction impact us?

  • Addiction impacts our mental and physical well-being
  • We can get addicted to certain behaviors to continue getting the same rush of good feelings
  • Addiction can negatively impact our sleep, eating habits, family, and friendships
  • We may not realize we are addicted to something until a friend or family member points it out to us, and we never like to hear it from them
  • At that point, hearing that you might be addicted to something is the last thing you want to talk about. It makes all of us avoid the subject

Look out for these video game addiction signs in your friends

  • Thinking about gaming constantly
  • Feeling bad when they can’t play
  • Needing to play for longer and longer to feel good while playing
  • Not being able to put the controller down or reduce playing time
  • Withdrawing from friends and activities that were previously enjoyed
  • Having problems at school or home, but won't use services to help
  • Lying about how much time they spend playing or sneaking extra playing time
  • Turning to their game console to release bad moods or feelings

What to do if you suspect a friend is addicted to video games

  • Talk to a trusted adult about your concerns
  • Invite your friend to do non-video game activities with you to step away from your consoles
  • Talk to your friend and share what you know about addiction and how you see them acting
  • Encourage your friend to set a time limit when they’re playing

Reasons to talk about gaming addiction

Impacts academic performance: In the 2011 National Survey of Student Engagement nearly 27,000 first-year students reported gaming more than 16 hours/week. These students had lower SAT scores, lower high school grades, and went to college less prepared.
Cause of college dropout: 9% of first-year students bring gaming problems to college with them and studies show 48% will avoid studying because of it. Add a tougher workload, change in environment, and more stress, and you have an increase in dropouts.
Correlates with depression: Studies show gaming addiction can lead to psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. These symptoms cause isolation in students who need support, and lead to poor academic performance and dropout. - Game Quitters

Gaming addiction signs & tips

  • Gaming companies profit by selling advertising, in-game upgrades, brand new games, and releasing new versions of already popular video games that make players want to spend more money and time playing video games
  • The most addictive games have no defined ending or “Game Over” and enable and encourage social interactions with other gamers or collaborating with other players to advance in the game
  • Gaming Disorder” has been declared a mental health condition by the World Health Organization (Source: World Health Organization)
Gaming disorder has been classified as a mental health condition by the World Health Organization

What can parents do to help keep kids safe?

Example of ESRB rating for Call of Duty
  • Start with clear limits on time—the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 30-60 minutes per day on school days and less than 2 hours on non-school days (Source: AAP) and making sure they are still getting daily physical exercise
  • If your student plays the games on a console (Nintendo Switch, Xbox, or Playstation), use the console’s parental controls to limit how much time they play
  • Remind your student to never give out any personal information to others online (home address, real name, city, school, etc.) and that people online are not always who they say they are
  • Reassure your child that they can talk to a parent or trusted adult if any online interactions ever make them feel uncomfortable
  • Read and follow the ESRB ratings for each game
  • Seek medical advice if you feel your teen is suffering from gaming disorder

5 ways families can be safer on online games

#1: Play together

  • One of the best ways to get more game time is to invite your parents to play games with you
  • Use game time as a way to connect with your family
  • Tell your parents why you like playing certain games and how much it would mean to you if they joined you for a match
  • Be the expert and walk your parents through your favorite games to show them what you know and what you do

#2: Play without a headset

  • When you hear profanity being used casually on a consistent basis, you are more likely to use it and get in trouble
  • Some strangers use headsets to learn personal information about others—never share personal details with anyone online

#3: Set goals and earn game time

  • Demonstrate your responsibility (and possibly earn more game time) by prioritizing school work, family, and extracurricular activities before game time
  • Think of game time as something that you can look forward to once you’ve done all of your other activities first

#4: Be cautious of scams

  • There are lots of email and social media messages that claim to give away free money or credits for games if you provide your account log-in info in exchange for claiming a prize. Any real giveaway promotion will occur only in the game
  • ONLY give your passwords to your parents, never a stranger or a friend

#5: Manage your game time

  • Work with your parents BEFORE you start playing to determine an acceptable amount of time or a certain number of matches to play
  • If you’re playing for a set amount of time, use a visual timer like an egg timer to track how much time you have left

Quick tips for parents

  • Create a username that does not directly identify you, but that wouldn’t embarrass you if someone knew who you were
  • Work together to decide the amount of play time BEFORE you start playing. Create a Family Media Agreement
  • Find other activities that help you develop your knowledge and skills of the game without more screen time (like reading books or magazines about the game with tips and stories, or writing a plan for what you want to create or do next time you log in)

Additional Resources for Parents, Students, & Educators

The Impact of Screen Time on Motivation

Balancing Video Game Screen Time for Teens

Using YouTube to Explore Colleges and Careers

10 Screen Time Management Tips to Prevent Addiction

Conclusion

Joining friends to work towards a common goal in a virtual world can be a fun and rewarding experience for many students. Still, there are potential dangers. No matter if they are world building, playing an Xbox series or on a Nintendo Switch, or playing on a tablet or smartphone, there are possible negative effects of playing video games. There are many ways families can have fun and still stay safe while playing video games.

Pros and Cons of Video Games as a Family (For Students, Parents and Educators)

What Students Think About Video Games (For Students, Parents & Educators)

June 14, 2024

Additional Resources for Parents, Students, & Educators

The Impact of Screen Time on Motivation

Balancing Video Game Screen Time for Teens

Using YouTube to Explore Colleges and Careers

10 Screen Time Management Tips to Prevent Addiction

Conclusion

Joining friends to work towards a common goal in a virtual world can be a fun and rewarding experience for many students. Still, there are potential dangers. No matter if they are world building, playing an Xbox series or on a Nintendo Switch, or playing on a tablet or smartphone, there are possible negative effects of playing video games. There are many ways families can have fun and still stay safe while playing video games.

What Students Think About Video Games (For Students, Parents & Educators)

Family Checklist (For Students, Parents & Educators)

June 6, 2024

Additional Resources for Parents, Students, & Educators

The Impact of Screen Time on Motivation

Balancing Video Game Screen Time for Teens

Using YouTube to Explore Colleges and Careers

10 Screen Time Management Tips to Prevent Addiction

Conclusion

Joining friends to work towards a common goal in a virtual world can be a fun and rewarding experience for many students. Still, there are potential dangers. No matter if they are world building, playing an Xbox series or on a Nintendo Switch, or playing on a tablet or smartphone, there are possible negative effects of playing video games. There are many ways families can have fun and still stay safe while playing video games.

Family Checklist (For Students, Parents & Educators)

Video Game Addiction (For Students, Parents & Educators)

June 13, 2024

Additional Resources for Parents, Students, & Educators

The Impact of Screen Time on Motivation

Balancing Video Game Screen Time for Teens

Using YouTube to Explore Colleges and Careers

10 Screen Time Management Tips to Prevent Addiction

Conclusion

Joining friends to work towards a common goal in a virtual world can be a fun and rewarding experience for many students. Still, there are potential dangers. No matter if they are world building, playing an Xbox series or on a Nintendo Switch, or playing on a tablet or smartphone, there are possible negative effects of playing video games. There are many ways families can have fun and still stay safe while playing video games.

Video Game Addiction (For Students, Parents & Educators)

5 Ways Families Can Be Safer on Online Games (For Students, Parents & Educators)

June 14, 2024

Additional Resources for Parents, Students, & Educators

The Impact of Screen Time on Motivation

Balancing Video Game Screen Time for Teens

Using YouTube to Explore Colleges and Careers

10 Screen Time Management Tips to Prevent Addiction

Conclusion

Joining friends to work towards a common goal in a virtual world can be a fun and rewarding experience for many students. Still, there are potential dangers. No matter if they are world building, playing an Xbox series or on a Nintendo Switch, or playing on a tablet or smartphone, there are possible negative effects of playing video games. There are many ways families can have fun and still stay safe while playing video games.

5 Ways Families Can Be Safer on Online Games (For Students, Parents & Educators)

Parent Quickstart: Navigating Violent Video Games (For Parents & Educators)

June 14, 2024

Additional Resources for Parents, Students, & Educators

The Impact of Screen Time on Motivation

Balancing Video Game Screen Time for Teens

Using YouTube to Explore Colleges and Careers

10 Screen Time Management Tips to Prevent Addiction

Conclusion

Joining friends to work towards a common goal in a virtual world can be a fun and rewarding experience for many students. Still, there are potential dangers. No matter if they are world building, playing an Xbox series or on a Nintendo Switch, or playing on a tablet or smartphone, there are possible negative effects of playing video games. There are many ways families can have fun and still stay safe while playing video games.

Parent Quickstart: Navigating Violent Video Games (For Parents & Educators)

Pros and Cons of Video Games (expert video)

June 14, 2024

Additional Resources for Parents, Students & Educators

The Impact of Screen Time on Motivation

Balancing Video Game Screen Time for Teens

Using YouTube to Explore Colleges and Careers

10 Screen Time Management Tips to Prevent Addiction

Conclusion

Joining friends to work towards a common goal in a virtual world can be a fun and rewarding experience for many students. Still, there are potential dangers. No matter if they are world building, playing an Xbox series or on a Nintendo Switch, or playing on a tablet or smartphone, there are possible negative effects of playing video games. There are many ways families can have fun and still stay safe while playing video games.

Pros and Cons of Video Games (expert video)

Pros and Cons of Video Games (2024)

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Enjoy this resource and share our programs with your school district to send these resources to your whole community
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Share this resource with a parent at .  (or visit our new sharing center)
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Enjoy this demo pass. Click the button to share access with leaders in your school district (or visit our new sharing center)
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Most parents remember the video games they played as kids—remember Super Mario Bros, the Oregon Trail, and PacMan?

Today there are so many video game options ranging from educational to violent video games that it can seem overwhelming to learn about them all. Many parents may be left wondering: are today’s games safe to play or are they causing harm to students? The answer to both is yes.

While there are positives to playing video games, there are also some negative effects that parents should be aware of before letting their students play them.

Educators and parents: Guide your students' reflection and discussion with this student worksheet. (Log in to your Google account and select File-->Make a Copy)

What students think about video games (video)

(This student-friendly video can be shown in the classroom or at home)

Connecting with friends - Opportunities for more socializing compared to watching TV - many games offer chat features and players enjoy interacting with other players
Problem-solving and challenges - Many video games, like role-playing games or action games, require the player to solve problems and work towards a goal
Edge of seat - The action that many games offer is exhilarating, and finding hidden secrets in the game can be challenging and rewarding
Fun topic of conversation - Students at school will talk about video games, which may lead to game-inspired ideas or projects

Why do students want to play video games?

  • Connecting with friends - Opportunities for more socializing compared to TV or reading - many games offer chat features and players enjoy interacting with other players 
  • Problem-solving and challenges - Many video games, like role-playing games or action games, require the player to solve problems and work towards a goal
  • Edge of seat - The action that many games offer is exhilarating and finding hidden secrets in the game can be challenging and rewarding
  • Fun topic of conversation - Students at school will talk about video games, which may lead to game-inspired ideas or projects
“The games are fun because of the action feeling of hiding, running, and shooting. It can also make you feel better than others because of your weapons.” Tyler, SmartSocial Student Intern
“They are fun because you can play those games online with other students and it builds connections or feels like a social game instead of an ‘"on your own’" sort of game.” Ziya, SmartSocial Student Intern

Student, parent, & educator training video

(This student-friendly video can be shown in the classroom or at home)

Students: Download this pdf to follow along with the video

Family checklist (video lesson)

(This student-friendly video can be shown in the classroom or at home)

Pros and cons of video games (expert video)

(This parent and educator video is best to be shown to adults)

Expert guests include: 

Christian Ulstrup, Founder, Virgils, Inc.

Gabe Zichermann, Founder & CEO, Gamification.co

Monet Goldman, Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor, Monet Goldman Video Game Counseling

Josh Ochs, Founder of SmartSocial.com

Pros of video games

Teamwork, leadership, & problem solving skills

  • From your own console, you’re working with a whole squad or small team to complete a mission
  • Time constraints might limit you to only one game, motivating you to keep it productive
  • You must be clear with your words to complete the mission, earn new weapons, or achieve other goals for the main character
  • Keeping cool under pressure can help with the end goal
  • Chances to cover for your friends if they need help
  • Learning your strengths and those of your squad
  • Managing your emotions through failure and success
Source: (Theesa)

Building family relationships

  • Gaming as a family can enhance relationships and allow parents to better understand what kids like and enjoy
Source: (Theesa)

Opportunities to dialogue between parents & students

“A report from the online safety watchdog, the eSafety Commissioner, finds that getting parents involved in their child's gaming has benefits beyond bringing the family together. It can also help keep children safe online by making them feel more comfortable reporting bullying and abuse to their parents. …Children want parents to see [the] positive side of gaming.”  (Source: AU News)
“Young people were more likely to report online abuse to a parent if the parent had either played with them in the past year or talked to the child about gaming. kids that are engaging with their parents and talking openly about their online gaming experiences are more likely to talk to them when something goes wrong online.” (Source: AU News)

Better real-life friendships & being social

  • Work with your parents to make sure they know you’re playing with your school friends, so they’re more likely to encourage your time together
  • Support each other when it’s game time, but also help your friends to focus on school, so you can have more game time
  • Listen to your feelings and your friends while playing. It’s a great time to see how they are doing in other aspects of life and help them see the additional purposes of playing video games
Source: (Theesa)

Making learning fun

  • Many video game titles create learning opportunities to prepare you for your future (while having fun)
“Gamers bring improved critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence and complex problem-solving to the table. Games even teach players how to communicate feedback effectively. These soft skills are hard to find and even harder to train—43 percent of employers say it is more difficult to teach the soft skills they’re looking for.” (Source: Forbes)

Eye-hand coordination

“Action video games, defined by their fast-paced gameplay, often feature a player-controlled character immersed in activities like shooting, fighting, or platforming (precision jumping) within a highly dynamic virtual environment require players to have good hand-eye coordination, fast reflexes, and strategic thinking to overcome obstacles and defeat opponents” (Source: PsyPost)

Players learn to fail & learn from mistakes in low-stakes environments

“...Failing, and feeling responsible for failing, makes players enjoy a game more, not less.” (Source: Jesperjuul)

The challenge inside of games can oftentimes help a student be ok with trying multiple solutions to an obstacle

  • Video games are sometimes used in classrooms for specific learning objectives
  • Benefits of playing video games according to educators include:
  • ~Coding practice
  • ~Problem-solving skills
  • ~Team building
  • ~Memorization skills
  • ~Sparking creativity
  • ~Reading and writing
  • ~Math (calculating costs, time, and resources)

Cons of playing video games

Chatting with strangers who may not be who they say they are in real life

  • While video games deliver a lot of positives, sometimes those we chat with in the game might not have our best interests in mind
  • Consider chatting with only those people you know in real life (at school or family friends) and never share your real-life location with anyone in the game
  • Be mindful of the language others use, as it might impact how we feel after playing the game
  • Cursing can make people feel good because it can release endorphins. But hearing others curse repeatedly can cause those words to enter our vocabulary if we aren’t careful (Source: KIDAS)

Hard to put down the controller: Screen time addiction 

  • Too much screen time is bad on any screen, but video game creators keep us hooked
“More teens are experiencing video game addiction, which is officially known as internet gaming disorder. And boys are almost twice as likely to experience a gaming addiction. When parents complain, ‘My son is addicted to video games,’ they may be dealing with an actual mental health disorder.” (Source: Newport Academy)

How does addiction impact us?

  • Addiction impacts our mental and physical well-being
  • We can get addicted to certain behaviors to continue getting the same rush of good feelings
  • Addiction can negatively impact our sleep, eating habits, family, and friendships
  • We may not realize we are addicted to something until a friend or family member points it out to us, and we never like to hear it from them
  • At that point, hearing that you might be addicted to something is the last thing you want to talk about. It makes all of us avoid the subject
  • Maybe you have a friend who displays these traits?

Look out for these video game addiction signs in your friends

  • Thinking about gaming constantly
  • Feeling bad when they can’t play
  • Needing to play for longer and longer to feel good while playing
  • Not being able to put the controller down or reduce playing time
  • Withdrawing from friends and activities that were previously enjoyed
  • Having problems at school or home, but won't use services to help
  • Lying about how much time they spend playing or sneaking extra playing time
  • Turning to their game console to release bad moods or feelings

What to do if you suspect a friend is addicted to video games

  • Talk to a trusted adult about your concerns
  • Invite your friend to do non-video game activities with you to step away from your consoles 
  • Talk to your friend and share what you know about addiction and how you see them acting
  • Encourage your friend to set a time limit when they’re playing

Reasons to talk about gaming addiction

Impacts academic performance: In the 2011 National Survey of Student Engagement nearly 27,000 first-year students reported gaming more than 16 hours/week. These students had lower SAT scores, lower high school grades, and went to college less prepared.
Cause of college dropout: 9% of first-year students bring gaming problems to college with them and studies show 48% will avoid studying because of it. Add a tougher workload, change in environment, and more stress, and you have an increase in dropouts.
Correlates with depression: Studies show gaming addiction can lead to psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. These symptoms cause isolation in students who need support, and lead to poor academic performance and dropout. - Game Quitters

What causes video game addiction? 

Gaming addiction signs & tips

  • Gaming companies profit by selling advertising, in-game upgrades, brand new games, and releasing new versions of already popular video games that make players want to spend more money and time playing video games
  • The most addictive games have no defined ending or “Game Over” and enable and encourage social interactions with other gamers or collaborating with other players to advance in the game
  • Gaming Disorder” has been declared a mental health condition by the World Health Organization (Source: World Health Organization)
Gaming disorder has been classified as a mental health condition by the World Health Organization

What can parents do to help keep kids safe?

Example of ESRB rating for Call of Duty
  • Start with clear limits on time—the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 30-60 minutes per day on school days and less than 2 hours on non-school days (Source: AAP) and making sure they are still getting daily physical exercise
  • If your student plays the games on a console (Nintendo Switch, Xbox, or Playstation), use the console’s parental controls to limit how much time they play
  • Remind your student to never give out any personal information to others online (home address, real name, city, school, etc.) and that people online are not always who they say they are
  • Reassure your child that they can talk to a parent or trusted adult if any online interactions ever make them feel uncomfortable
  • Read and follow the ESRB ratings for each game
  • Seek medical advice if you feel your teen is suffering from gaming disorder

5 ways families can be safer on online games (video lesson)

(This student-friendly video can be shown in the classroom or at home)

#1: Play together

  • One of the best ways to get more game time is to invite your parents to play games with you
  • Use game time as a way to connect with your family 
  • Tell your parents why you like playing certain games and how much it would mean to you if they joined you for a match
  • Be the expert and walk your parents through your favorite games to show them what you know and what you do

#2: Play without a headset

  • When you hear profanity being used casually on a consistent basis, you are more likely to use it and get in trouble
  • Some strangers use headsets to learn personal information about others—never share personal details with anyone online

#3: Set goals and earn game time

  • Demonstrate your responsibility (and possibly earn more game time) by prioritizing school work, family, and extracurricular activities before game time 
  • Think of game time as something that you can look forward to once you’ve done all of your other activities first

#4: Be cautious of scams

  • There are lots of email and social media messages that claim to give away free money or credits for games if you provide your account log-in info in exchange for claiming a prize. Any real giveaway promotion will occur only in the game
  • ONLY give your passwords to your parents, never a stranger or a friend

#5: Manage your game time 

  • Work with your parents BEFORE you start playing to determine an acceptable amount of time or a certain number of matches to play
  • If you’re playing for a set amount of time, use a visual timer like an egg timer to track how much time you have left

Quick tips for parents (3 min video)

(This parent and educator video is best to be shown to adults)

  • Create a username that does not directly identify you, but that wouldn’t embarrass you if someone knew who you were
  • Work together to decide the amount of play time BEFORE you start playing
  • Find other activities that help you develop your knowledge and skills of the game without more screen time (like reading books or magazines about the game with tips and stories, or writing a plan for what you want to create or do next time you log in)

Additional Resources for Parents, Students, & Educators

The Impact of Screen Time on Motivation

Balancing Video Game Screen Time for Teens

Using YouTube to Explore Colleges and Careers

10 Screen Time Management Tips to Prevent Addiction

Conclusion

Joining friends to work towards a common goal in a virtual world can be a fun and rewarding experience for many students. Still, there are potential dangers. No matter if they are world building, playing an Xbox series or on a Nintendo Switch, or playing on a tablet or smartphone, there are possible negative effects of playing video games. There are many ways families can have fun and still stay safe while playing video games.

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These Pros & Cons of Video Games lessons will help parents, students and educators learn:

  • Pros and cons of playing video games
  • Tips from students and experts to maximize benefits and how to watch out for the dangers
  • Tips to maximize fun as a family playing video games together

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