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Are your kids gaming too much?

When it comes to online gaming, sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference between healthy enthusiasm and excessive use. But as a general rule, if your child is coping with school, playing sport or other hobbies, has friends, and seems happy and healthy, you probably have the balance about right. But if they seem to put gaming before everything else, or get irritated or anxious when they’re not able to play a game, it might be time to have a chat and set some ground rules.Here's some tips to help you draw the line

  • Set clear rules: You need to arrive at a mutual agreement with your child about how many hours per day they can play, what kinds of games can be played and when they can go off to play. For a handy template to get you started , download the Parenting Place’s Our Gaming Contract below.
  • Encourage other activities: To add some balance, introduce your child to activities like sport or music. You can also ask them what else they would like to do beside gaming and have them set time aside in their schedule for it.
  • Recognise signs of distress: For many children, gaming is way to cope with problems they face at school or other areas of their life. If you notice a sharp increase in their gaming habits, be sure to keep dialogue open to address such issues.
  • Keep gaming technology in shared family spaces: This allows you to monitor the content of the games they play and enforces the idea that gaming is not something they can do till late in the night.
  • Monitor in-game purchases: A gaming console or computer is a privilege, not a right. So if kids want to make purchases in the games they’re playing, you need to understand and approve each purchase.
  • Watch for excessive violence: While in-game violence isn’t directly co-related to your child’s behaviour, you should keep an eye out for any excessive brutality, violence or gore. If you spot it, be sure to have a chat with your child - making sure they understand the boundaries of in-game behaviour and real life behaviour.

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