Good conversations to have with kids about gaming
If your kids are mad about gaming, they probably love talking about it too. And as a parents, it's great if we can harness this and normalise the conversations with them. The more we chat about it, the more we can influence their behaviour, and coach them through any challenges such as being left out of games or if they are being killed off by another player every time. Reassuring them that it is not the end of the world if they come across these difficulties and it is okay to talk about them is key to empowering children to game in a positive and healthy way. They are also much more likely to come and talk to us if anything is seriously wrong.
So just as you probably do after they come in from playing football, ask them about their games, and if you can, persuade them to let you join in next time. Try and keep the conversations positive where possible if you really want to engage them. While there is a lot of focus in the media on the downsides of gaming, such as inappropriate content or language, it's important to acknowledge to them that some games can be educational, fun and social too.
How to open a dialogue with your child
Before you start the conversation (and we do mean conversation not lecture!), check out our Gaming Explained glossary to familiarise yourself with the gaming lingo. If you want to find out more about a particular game, we find commonsense Media a great website for a quick description, along with risks and safeguards associated with a game. Remember you don't need to be a technical expert, you just need to know enough!
Here are a few questions that you could ask:
- What games are you playing?
- Can I see your friends list?
- Show me your best gaming skills.
- Which of your friends play this game?
- Is this a game you play by yourself or with others?
- Are there people that you have never met in real life in the game?
- Have you met new friends through gaming?
- Is this game easy or hard?
- What happens in this game?
- What’s good and bad about this game?
- Can I play too?
- Is there anything that worries you or your friends about this game?
- What is your favourite thing about gaming?
- What is your least favourite thing about gaming?
Having these chats are a great way to stay involved in your child’s online life. They will move from one game to another, so there are lots of opportunities for great chats. Just start the conversation now and get stuck in if they'll let you!