Do You Know What Your Kids Are Playing?
Kids and video games go hand in hand. Especially in today’s world of persistent technology with smartphones, computers, game consoles, and even TVs being capable of providing gaming experiences. However, it is important for parents to not just know what games their kids might be playing, but also know what kind of experience that game is providing. Beyond this, games actually present an excellent opportunity for family experiences and being more involved in your child’s life. Some companies particularly excel at providing these experiences in new ways.
Video games are everywhere thanks to the overabundance of advanced technology throughout the developed world. Game consoles may be the first that comes to mind thanks to their heavy advertising and popularity, but even a number of smart TVs today provide access to games – sometimes, even in hotel rooms with a console like controller and all. Computers have always been a major platform for games as well, and just about everyone has a computer of some kind in their homes. But today, almost everyone has a powerful computer right in their pocket, their smart phone! The smart phone market for games has grown rapidly and is now one of the largest markets for games. With all these platforms for games, you can imagine there is a huge variety of games in the market. From cute, family friendly content perfect for kids of all ages to brutally violent games full of adult themes that are really meant only to be played by adults. This landscape can be hard to navigate for the uninitiated, but it must be done by parents to understand what kind of games they are letting their children play.
So how do you approach this problem? Especially if you’re not a gamer yourself, it can be often be difficult to tell the difference between a good title for kids and something a little too mature. Luckily, Mortal Kombat inspired the creation of the ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board), and their system of classifying games into a number of categories. The ESRB has 5 main categories for games: E for Everyone, E10+ for Everyone 10 or older, T for Teen (13 or older), M for Mature (17 or older), and AO for Adults Only (18 or older). This is an easy quick way to get the ballpark of how appropriate a game may be. Often, they also list why they received the rating they did as well, so reading these details can help clarify what kind of game it is and how appropriate it may or may not be. I would also recommend watching videos of the game online. Trailers, reviews, and gameplay videos will all give you great insight into exactly the kind of experience a game provides, so you can decide if it’s right for your child. These videos are easily found by searching the title of the game from any smartphone, so if your kid just needs that game right now, you can take a minute to be sure this is something they can have. Doing your research not only lets you know what’s appropriate, but it’s also the first step into being more involved with your children through their play time.
Choosing the right games for your kids is a great opportunity to connect with them about something they really care about. Showing that you care too, that you don’t just dismiss it as silly, but show real interest in the game and playing it helps your kids feel more comfortable around you, and like you understand them and their wants and needs more. You can feel more like a peer and close the gap of age just a little by showing that you share a real and genuine interest in what your child is doing, especially their games. You’ll learn more about your kids and what they like, and you can use that to find great family and multiplayer games you can pay together with your child. There is a wide variety of multiplayer family friendly games that can get everyone involved. These make for fun and engaging family time that everyone will love. Your kids will look forward to family night, or however you get your family time in, more than ever when you’ve got the whole family playing their favorite games. There are plenty of creators out there ready to provide this experience.
The elephant in the room of the family gaming space is obviously Nintendo. They have been a staple of kid and family friendly games since the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) hit the United States in the 1980s. They certainly have a wide variety of traditional titles available. But you might want to look for something a little different, and a little new. A lot of companies are capitalizing on modern technology in new and exciting ways that are perfect for these kinds of shared gaming experience with your children while also exposing them to some of the most fascinating cutting edge technology, like augmented reality (AR). One such company is Playper, the creators of Kung Fu Boogie, the AR dance battle game. They are leveraging AR technology to create a new, unique, and exciting experience that can easily be shared with friends and family in a variety of ways, from play in the physical world – to play in the AR-enhanced mobile game. Companies like Playper are pioneering new ways of play, so go, do your research, and make sure you know exactly what your kids are playing today.