Dr. Barbara Huggins

Video Games and the Family

December 6, 2007

Video Games and the Family -  December 6, 2007Children playing video games may have improved manual dexterity and computer literacy skills. But too much of a good thing can adversely affect their development and the way they relate to their world. Dr. Mom reports on why it's so important for parents to choose wisely when they shop for video games for their children.

Ring-a-ling, hear them ring… It’s Christmastime in the city. Children laughing, children asking… for video games. What is a parent to do? Just walk through any store and/or watch advertisements on television and you will find a myriad of video and computer games available.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rates the content in video/computer games to help consumers make informed purchases. The ESRB recommends parents carefully check game ratings and content symbols on the front and backs of video/computer games. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics cautions that video game ratings are not always accurate.

The ratings symbols are as follows:

The ESRB also rates content. These ratings may be viewed here.

Other helpful tips from the ESRB are:

Parent involvement is the most important tip of all. Play the games with your children, talk to your child about what is on the screen, and set limits for children’s screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 1 to 2 hours of quality TV and videos per day, and NONE for children under the age of 2.

Helpful websites:

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