Youth and Video Games

From instant messaging classmates to researching on the Internet, today’s youth are increasingly using electronic media for many different purposes. Youth also use electronics recreationally through activities such as downloading music and playing video games (the latter being popular among children of all ages—especially boys).

Although children today are more media literate than their parents, this increased electronic-media consumption may not always be positive. For example, not all video games are appropriate for youth, and some may contain violence, obscene language, and/or sexual content. You can take an active role in youth-video-game consumption with the following suggestions:

How to Monitor Kids’ Video-Game Playing

  • Learn more about a game’s content by checking its Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating.
  • Test games before allowing your child to play them to ensure the games are appropriate.
  • Play games with your child to experience the games firsthand, witness children’s reactions, and stay informed about the latest changes and trends in popular games.
  • Set limits and rules regarding playing time and content that apply in and outside of the home.
  • If your child plays games online, be sure to warn them about forming relationships with strangers on the Internet.
  • Encourage your child to participate in other activities, such as sports and outdoor hobbies.

Some video games can be educational and age-appropriate, but many have content not suitable for youth. By being informed about different types of video games, you can guide your children to make better decisions.

Adapted and excerpted from:

R. V. Barnett, “Encouraging Positive Youth Video Game Activities” (FCS2238), UF/IFAS Family, Youth and Community Sciences Department (rev. 06/2012).

Children and Video Games: Playing with Violence,” American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (03/2011).

Violent video games and young people,” Harvard Health Publications (10/2010).

Photo Credits: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock

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