Tips for safe online gaming part 3
Posted on June 5, 2014
9. Balance gaming with other activities
Sure, gaming is extremely fun and engaging but it’s not all there is to life. Encourage balance in all things: gaming is a great activity to relax after some strenuous physical activity, and it’s a fantastic incentive to use to encourage working hard at school or community activities. Boundaries are essential here: encourage choice within defined parameters, and slowly build the gamer’s capacity to self-regulate their gaming and structure their own gaming activities. Taking breaks from gaming is essential for all kinds of psychological and health reasons, and can enhance the enjoyment of returning to the game.
10. Observe classification recommendations
This might seem like a bit of a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how often the system seems too complex or not quite right for given cases. The classification system does seem a bit conservative: everything other than pure “G” games are recommended with caution for children under 15. However, if a game is not restricted, it simply means that a parent or legal guardian is recommended to look into the game and the reasons for its classification, and to perhaps observe the child playing to be able to talk through any mature themes or experiences that come out of it. There are some games that are simply not appropriate for younger players, and even if the definition of ‘younger’ appears flexible, this recommendation is there for a reason.
11. Talk about gaming safely, within and between families
Of course a family’s own experience it its own best guide, but we can also learn a lot from talking with other families, parents, and groups about the best way to ensure healthy and positive gaming on and offline. We must not underestimate the value of talking through these issues within families: of course, it’s not a democracy, and no matter how articulately your 12-year old implores you to let them play GTAV it may not be wise to allow it. But by having an open discussion about these matters we involve everyone in the process, and we may find we learn more from each other than from any apparent ‘authority’ on the subject.
12. Remember it’s just a game
Ultimately, if things get too fraught, gamers should remember that it’s just a game and the purpose is to have fun. (This is not directly helpful advice during an episode of rage quit, though…) Of course, the excitement and stress of facing challenging encounters can be fun as well, but if the gameplay experience is overwhelmingly negative, then there’s something wrong. Build strategies for reflecting on gaming and developing more and more positive structures for getting the most out of the gaming experience.
So that’s it for the ‘tips’ posts – what do you think? Do any of these resonate with you; do you disagree; or are there others you think are useful? Post in the comments below!