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Tip Sheet   Print this page

Taming the Video Game Tiger

  1. LIMIT game playing time. (Recommendation: no more than one hour per day.)

  2. CHECK the age game ratings on the box. But become familiar with the game before you buy it. [(Some T(een) and E(veryone) rated games have a level of violence and sex that you may not be comfortable with.]

  3. USE other content sources and reviews to help you choose a game. (Games are often previewed in detail on the web.)

  4. RENT a game to preview before buying.

  5. AVOID the "first person shooter", killing-machine games. M-rated games are not meant for children or teenagers.

  6. REQUIRE that homework and chores be done before game playing. Playing games should be a reward.

  7. DO NOT PUT video game consoles or computers in children's bedrooms where they can shut the door and isolate themselves.

  8. PLAY AND ENJOY the game with your child; check in as your child moves into deeper levels in the game. (With some games the level of violence goes up the deeper into the game the player gets.)

  9. TALK about the content of the games. Ask your child what's going on in the game.

  10. EXPLAIN to your children why you object to certain games.

  11. ASK your local retailer or rental store to implement policies preventing the sale or rental of M-rated (mature) games to children or youth.

  12. LOOK for games that involve multiple players to encourage group play.

  13. PICK non-lethal games that require the player to come up with strategies, and make decisions in a game environment that is more complex than punch, run, and kill.

  14. Finally, ENCOURAGE your child to play with friends away from the video game set.

Questions to ask about violence in video games: Is the violence rewarded or punished? What are the consequences? How graphic is the violence? Is the violence against humans or inanimate objects? Is the violence sexual?

  © National Institute on Media and the Family.