When my kids were younger, they often complained that I was “the only mom” with strict rules about the types of movies, games, and other entertainment they were allowed to consume. Although I still wear this badge proudly, I see many parents struggling to set similar boundaries at home. After all, considering the rapid pace of change all around us, who can blame them? Fortunately, when it comes to video games, easy-to-use tools can help parents recognize which games are appropriate and to help set parental controls
Children are connected and engaged online at an early age and parents need to stay actively involved to ensure that their kids are using technology appropriately. As the president of the ESRB and “the only mom” in my kids’ universe with rules about entertainment – here are some of my suggestions for how to get started:
You’re probably already familiar with ESRB ratings for “boxed” video games. What you may not know that those same ratings are also assigned to mobile games and apps in Google Play and downloadable games in the PlayStation Store, Nintendo eShop, the Microsoft Store for Windows and Xbox, Origin, and the Oculus store. The ESRB rating system has three-parts:
Here is an illustration of the ESRB rating system:
All devices today feature parental controls, allowing you to manage games and apps without having to hover. You can use parental controls to block or limit the games available to your children based on the age rating, but most offer even more choices for you. Depending on the device, you can manage:
More robust parental controls even include the ability to proactively approve of who can play with your children online, while blocking people who are not on your approved list. These controls are PIN, or password protected, so once you’ve activated them don’t share your password with your kids! And don’t forget, if you are the account holder, you will always receive an email when a purchase is made.
Here are five must-dos for today’s digital parent:
Video games are always changing, and so are the ways your children interact with them. But don’t forget: taking control of your family’s video games is easier than you may think.