Gaming is part of modern parenting. Therefore, it is important that you as a parent can guide your child to healthy gaming behavior. But what exactly are the best ways to educate your child about gaming?
Keep in touch with your child
Talking to your child about the concerns you have is difficult if you don’t have a good connection with each other. Make sure that conversations you have together are not always about difficult subjects. Talk about all kinds of things that are important to him, show interest in big and small events in his life. When your children get older and are home less often: know what is on their minds, who their friends are and what they do.
Make sure your child dares to confide in you if he has run into problems. Even if these stem from clumsy choices or because he has not kept agreements.
Look for information about parenting and gaming. You can also do this together with your child. If you are well informed, you can better indicate why you set certain limits.
- Get to know the games your child plays. You can find trailers of games on YouTube. This will give you an idea of what a game looks like. The suitability of a game can be checked using the Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) rating system. This uses logos to indicate that games may pose a risk to younger children and whether harmful behaviors, such as violence and foul language, are present.
- Inform yourself about gaming. Know what the risks and effects of gaming can be. Your child is also an important source of information. He can tell you what he likes about gaming. He can also tell you more about the game he is playing.
- A good attitude. If your child spends a lot of time gaming, it is important that he has the right posture. Here you can find a video with information on this subject.
Keep the subject open for discussion
A subject is discussable if you and your child feel free to say what you want. And without there always being consequences or punishment. This is easier when you already do this about other subjects and when gaming is not a problem.
Making it discussable does not mean that you have to bring up the subject all the time. But don’t ignore it if there is a reason for it.
- Especially with young children, it is important to set clear boundaries. But even when they are older, children need boundaries. See if you can come to an agreement together. If a child has thought about an agreement, he is more likely to stick to it. Agreements can include how long your child can play games, how often, at what times and what games he can play.
- Also adjust the agreements to the needs of your child. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the game your child plays. This will increase the chance that your child will stick to the agreements. For example, it may be important for your child to game at the same time as his or her online friends. Some games require the player to play for long periods of time. Other games require short stretches of time.
- If necessary, make new arrangements that suit the corona situation. Also read gaming in times of corona.
- Do you find it difficult to determine how long your child can play games? Compare gaming with other activities such as watching TV, reading books, meeting up with friends or playing sports. What would you consider acceptable?
- Discuss with other parents what rules they have about gaming. These don’t have to be your rules, but you can take them into account in the agreements you make with your child.
- Explain why it is important to stick to the agreements. Also agree with each other what will happen if your child does not follow the rules. For example, that he has to help with an extra household task.
- Crossing borders is part of life; children try to find out how far they can go. It is precisely then that clarity on your part is important.
- A lot of gaming can also cause physical complaints. Together with your child, you can look at how he can limit the risks, for example by ensuring a good posture while playing and a balance between sitting and sufficient exercise.
- Do not allow your child to ignore agreements or not keep his promises through gaming. For example, agreements about chores around the house, the time he comes home and participating in things you do together as a family.
- Has your child spent all his money on games and is he running out of money? Then don’t give him any extra money. He needs to learn that he can only spend his money once. In this way he will learn what responsible spending is.
Reward positive behaviour
Especially if things are not going smoothly, as a parent you are sometimes inclined to focus on what is not going well. You then forget to mention the things that are going well, and there are always those (keeping appointments, good effort at school, helping others in the family or outside).
Be aware of your example
Children copy. What they see you doing as a parent they find normal. Therefore, set a good example: don’t sit behind the computer all day and don’t constantly look at your phone. Certainly not during meals or social activities.
Talk to your child about problematic gaming
Your child may not know that gaming can also lead to problems. He may only see gaming as something fun and innocent. Fortunately, in most cases it is. Try to explain to your child that gaming a lot and often can resemble an addiction. Especially if it leads to problems at school or with friendships outside the games. And that it is important not to let it get that far. Think together about what he can do to prevent gaming from getting out of hand.
Want to see more? In this video experts tell what they think parents should know about gaming.
Need personal advice?
Every child and every situation is different. You can contact our experts 24/7 if you have specific questions or want tailored advice.
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