Video games are a popular form of entertainment for many teens and young people. While gaming can be an enjoyable hobby, for some, it can also lead to addiction and become prioritised over everything else. Additionally, when games are played online, there can be safety risks associated that are important to monitor. Here are some useful tips and resources to help when your child is gaming at home.
How Much is Too Much?
While there are no set number of hours that are classed as ‘too many’ for gaming, the general idea is that your child is playing too much if it starts to negatively impact them and/or your family. These negative impacts can look like:
- Your child not wanting to engage in any of their other hobbies and only wanting to play games.
- Your child getting angry when are asked to stop gaming, when they lose a game, or when the game isn’t working.
- General irritability, restlessness and fidgeting from your child when they are not playing the game.
- Tiredness, trouble sleeping, headaches and eyestrain.
It is important to enforce boundarieswith young people and gaming, especially if they are showing any of the above signs. It can be a good idea to do this collaboratively with your child so that they feel included in the decision. Work together to agree on an appropirate time limit and frequency of when they can play and stick to this. It is important that you continue to encourage other hobbies, especially those that do not use screens and involved physical activity or going outside.
For more useful tips on how to manage time spent online and gaming, follow these links:
Playing games online comes with risks such as bullying, being exposed to distressing images and games, and hacking and fraud. While distressing, here are some ways you can manage your child’s safety online.
- Make sure that the gaming console, television, or computer are in public areas of the home. This means that you can monitor when your child is playing online.
- Take advantage of parental controls and locks available on devices. For instructions on how to do this, click here: https://www.esafety.gov.au/parents/skills-advice/taming-technology
- Monitor who your child is playing with and assess the appropriateness (e.g., that they are the same age, that they are not chatting privately, etc).
- Be aware of what games they are playing and assess if they are appropriate. Some games include graphic images and can be a negative influence. For information about how to do this, please visit: https://www.classification.gov.au/classification-ratings/whats-ok-for-children/does-your-child-play-violent-video-games