Gaming as a parent / raising little gamers

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Ashguyver
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Gaming as a parent / raising little gamers

Post by Ashguyver » May 16th, 2013, 1:17 pm

Hi All,

Some topics to get some discourse going on something that’s very close to my heart. I have two boys, 4 & 5 and luckily for me they have taken up my passion as their own. This of course, much like the classic game of the same name, comes with many potential Pitfalls which can leave a parent feeling like they have only a millimetre of breathing room to make a judgment call on, lest they (or even worse the Kids) fall from the precariously placed rope into a Croc filled lake.

Topics (in no particular order):

Is any age too young to start gaming?
The effect of gaming on children’s behaviour
Risks of gaming addiction
Adult themes in games and the risks of exposing children to them (violence, horror, sexualisation etc.)
The benefits of gaming from an early age
How gaming with your children changes your experience
How playing with your children changes your gaming experience
the future of family interaction and technology (not gamer centric on this one)

Feel free to give your opinions on any or all of the above, look forward to hearing your opinions. In the interests of context please state if you are a parent or not and how old the children are.

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RoboticMonk3y
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Re: Gaming as a Parent / Raising little Gamers

Post by RoboticMonk3y » May 16th, 2013, 2:09 pm

Ashguyver wrote:Is any age too young to start gaming?
So long as it's something age appropriate, not at all in my opinion.
Ashguyver wrote:The effect of gaming on children’s behaviour
I don't really see that behaviour changes would be any different to if you let children do things like watch TV. If you give them a can of red bull and sit them down in front of power-rangers for 8 hours it's not too much of a stretch of the imagination to see kids trying to emulate what they've been doing.
Ashguyver wrote:Risks of gaming addiction
Again, this is something that I really don't see as a problem, during the week, time on the xbox after school is limited, but on the weekend, provided there's no homework (can you believe that 8 year olds get about 3 bits of homework each week!?) then I'm happy for more than that. I think so long as you make children understand that there might be other things that have to be done, then the risks of addiction never really show up.
Ashguyver wrote:Adult themes in games and the risks of exposing children to them (violence, horror, sexualisation etc.)
As a gamer myself, I like to try and introduce the young on to as many games as I think she would enjoy.
Most games carry an age rating, so even if you're doing nothing other than glancing at the box you should have an idea about what you're letting yourself in for.
I think that the PEGI rating is a good start, but it's not always an absolute, for example, she really enjoyed playing thorugh a spyro game which had a 12 age rating. I played through the game and talked with her about what scary part were in there and asked if she was ok with it, I also sat with her while she was playing to make sure that it wasn't something that was distressing her.
It can be a bit of a bind if I want to play a game that's not age appropriate, she enjoys nothing more than sitting and watching me play things, and would happily sit and watch literally anything I'm playing, but as a responsible adult I make the decision that she can wait a bit longer before picking up those games.

I think this is one of the biggest problems with the argument of kids gaming. Sure when I was young I used to play games all the time, and I played the first GTA game before I was supposed to. But gaming was a little different back then, you could argue that the premise of car theft and mowing down pedestrians is still something very adult but I was able to separate the difference between gaming and real life. Gaming is a much more visceral experience these days (even moreso with things like the occulus rift) and so I think it's important that if you're going to allow a child to play games that you take the trouble to at least find out what they're doing. Sadly it's the low hanging fruit for the daily-mail-reading-halfwits to point out that games and gaming can be violent and that this may affect younger people, and something that will always be swung at. It genuinely makes me sad that to this day I've not seen an article that passes comment on poor parenting over poorly targeted gaming content.

Ashguyver wrote:The benefits of gaming from an early age
My eldest has gone through several favourite games. From the weird colourful world of beautiful katamari, to the spyro series, to pokemon and now minecraft. I feel that with each of them she's learnt different things. The quickest way to finish a level, or what are the best pick-ups. I'll often get asked to help out when she's stuck on a level and before taking over on the controller, I'll encourage he to think about why she's stuck and maybe there is another way to do things. I've seen her apply this and a recent example would be playing battleblock theatre, it can be a really quite complex puzzle/platformer at times, and I think if she had played the game a few years ago, she would have found it too difficult and lost interest, but it's great to see her trying to figure things out.
Minecraft is a game that as much as possible I try to play along with her. She has always enjoyed playing with lego, and so when minecraft came to the xbox, I wanted to see how she would get along with it. She'd seen me playing on the PC, but couldn't quite wrap her head around the keyboard and mouse control scheme. She would join the game with me and I would ask her to help make things, things which I would then see the next day when I got home from work built in lego with some extra bits added. I would try to add these bits in and we would watch her trying to think about how to try and build what was in her head. I encourage her to count things out and to plan what she would like to build. She would't always like to run about in the game and would sometimes get worried about going in minecraft when it got dark and the monsters came out (she worries that her character will die and she'll lose all of her carefully gathered things, bless her), but this is something that she has got much more confident with. I think if you encourage kids to think, and engage in things like that then it's a really positive thing for them.
Pokemon has helped her a lot with her reading. I've bought her gaming guides and encouraged her to read about how to get further in the game and she really does get a lot out of it.


TL:DR
Games are no worse than any other form of media if you leave you kids to decide what's best for them.

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strickenmcq
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Re: Gaming as a Parent / Raising little Gamers

Post by strickenmcq » May 16th, 2013, 2:19 pm


The effect of gaming on children’s behaviour


I have noticed a negative effect on my son's behaviour when we switch the games console off. We do prewarn him but we have temper tanturms about 50% of the time. Having spoken to my Mum about this she can remember a grumpy son when she did the same to me, but I'd like to think it was the stress of having to get ZX Spectrum games to load!

Adult themes in games and the risks of exposing children to them (violence, horror, sexualisation etc.)


I'm pretty strict when it comes to this as I don't think their minds are developed enough to understand context. We stick to Lego games, Mario and Kinect games. I do think that it will be difficult once my son gets older (he is six now) to manage this due to the pressure that his peers will put him under but feel in a much better position to justify my reasons than a non-gamer does. I can already hear the playground mums and dads who can't stop them playing COD (but that is a much wider debate).

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Alex79uk
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Re: Gaming as a parent / raising little gamers

Post by Alex79uk » May 17th, 2013, 7:44 pm

I play games with my children - my son (6) much moreso than with my step-daughter (9). The only game she's interested in playing is Hamster Ball (a downloadable PSN title - it's a Monkey Ball knock-off).

Me and Elliot play the Lego games mainly, we've completed Lego Batman, and played bits of Lego Indiana Jones and Lego Star Wars. He also enjoys playing old games like Aladdin on the Megadrive, Sonic, Mario etc. plus a few Nintendo DS titles (mainly Mario Kart). Oh yeah, we've also played most of the way through Ratchet & Clank All-4-1 on the PS3. Oh - and we completed Turtles In Time on 360. Sorry, bit of a stream of conciousness post there haha.


Anyway, generally the game we play are non-violent family type games, or at least the violence is cartoon (Lego games etc) rather than the grisly finishing moves of Mortal Kombat. Sometimes we do play 1 on 1 fighters. With my health set to minimum and his set to maximum I find we can actually get a decent game of things like Street Fighter IV where he often gets a lucky couple of hits to win. I really don't see playing games like this any worse than children watching stuff like WWE wrestling etc.

At the moment, I'd not let him play stuff like Call Of Duty, or even games like Uncharted, and certainly not anything like Dead Space or Resident Evil (I once made the mistake of letting my step-daughter play five minutes of House Of The Dead on the Wii and she woke up that night having nightmares - really, you couldn't have scripted it better). I can't see me letting them play violent stuff any time soon.

We never really experience a negative reaction when the console goes off, as it's not really something that they crave in the first place. They very rarely actually ask to play video games, and on the occasion we do (not even once a week) there's never a fuss when it goes off. I find giving 10 and 5 minute warnings to end the game works just fine.

Elliot has been playing games though since he was very young. I've got a video of him when he was sick off nursery with chicken pox, aged 2, playing Build-A-Bear Workshop on the Wii, bouncing up and down on my bed using the Wiimote as a pogo stick! I think that was the only game he played until he was about 5! Lauren will occasionally play games, but as I said, she only really plays Hamster Ball on her own, and sometimes Dance Party type stuff on the Wii if she's got friends round.

As for things like gaming addiction and gaming causing adverse behaviour, it's not something we've experienced yet, but it's something I've seen at work many times. I've been working in childcare, running holiday clubs, after school care clubs and running nurseries for the best part of 20 years now, and I've seen many a fight break out over the Playstation in the school holidays. Wrestling games causing copycat behaviour etc (we banned games like that in the end) and impatient children twatting their friends over the head with controllers etc.

I don't know though, all said, video games are no more or less harmful than any other entertainment medium. The right game can bring a family together for the night, and many a friendship is forged on the playground through a mutual love of gaming.

Sorry if that was a bit of a rambling post, I tend to write things as they pop in to my head rather than in any kind of order!

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chase210
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Re: Gaming as a parent / raising little gamers

Post by chase210 » October 30th, 2013, 9:24 pm

My 9 year old hates games. I'm still trying to get her into pokemonn though :D

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Bakers_12
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Re: Gaming as a parent / raising little gamers

Post by Bakers_12 » September 22nd, 2017, 1:52 pm

Sophia was not happy I did not day one Destiny https://twitter.com/bakers_12/status/911241093634756609

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Gaming as a parent / raising little gamers

Post by KSubzero1000 » September 22nd, 2017, 5:31 pm

...Is there any particular reason why she should have been? :P

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Alex79uk
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Re: Gaming as a parent / raising little gamers

Post by Alex79uk » September 22nd, 2017, 7:50 pm

Blimey, funny reading back through this thread and thinking how times change. Four years on and that step daughter is no longer my step daughter, I've had two more children and my eldest Elliot is now absolutely obsessed with gaming. He would sit and play all night if I let him. Even the middle one, who's 2 is constantly asking me to play Talking Tom with him or 'pop the bubbles' (literally a bubble wrap popping app).

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Gaming as a parent / raising little gamers

Post by KSubzero1000 » September 22nd, 2017, 7:54 pm

Well go on then, elaborate. What's Elliot into nowadays? Do you still have your restrictive rules? Any plans of introducing him gradually to the classics? :)

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Alex79uk
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Re: Gaming as a parent / raising little gamers

Post by Alex79uk » September 22nd, 2017, 9:22 pm

He loves Minecraft, but also plays a lot of Rocket League against the computer AI. We play pass the pad on Just Cause as well (yeah my rules did slip there), but we don't do missions, just mess about attaching people to cars and flinging things off cliffs. I tried to get him to play Fable 2 since I loved that game so much and it's kind of cartoony and but he wasn't that interested. He loved the Trials games, and we went mad on Guitar Hero for a good long while. To be honest though, he probably plays more games on his phone than anything else at the moment. He's been playing some free to play drag car racing games for ages now. Oh, and World Of Goo on the iPad, but he doesn't really do the levels properly, just keeps trying to build towers as tall as possible!

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chase210
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Re: Gaming as a parent / raising little gamers

Post by chase210 » November 10th, 2017, 9:16 pm

She's 13 now and still won't play video games.

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Suits
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Re: Gaming as a parent / raising little gamers

Post by Suits » November 10th, 2017, 9:22 pm

Charles is 5 months, sits on my lap and fiddles with the controller sticks.

He’s not even aware that he, himself exists. Yet I can tell he enjoys Mario Odyssey.

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Gaming as a parent / raising little gamers

Post by KSubzero1000 » November 10th, 2017, 9:34 pm

Suits wrote:
November 10th, 2017, 9:22 pm
He’s not even aware that he, himself exists. Yet I can tell he enjoys Mario Odyssey.
So profound and inspirational! :o
(only half-joking)

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Re: Gaming as a parent / raising little gamers

Post by DomsBeard » November 11th, 2017, 2:08 pm

I was sat this morning with my 18 month old son and for some reason the sky box would not work so rather than disturb him when he was comfortable on me I turned my ps4 on and looked at what to boot up (I never play on my ps4 when he is in the room). I looked through my library for something colourful and non violent and downloaded Fez. He seemed to like watching that with the music and colours.

Getting a switch for Christmas so hopefully he will get into that.

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chase210
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Re: Gaming as a parent / raising little gamers

Post by chase210 » November 11th, 2017, 3:04 pm

Just so happens today I took her phone off cos she was using it when I said not to, and there's mobile games on here! It's a start, possibly!

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dezm0nd
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Re: Gaming as a parent / raising little gamers

Post by dezm0nd » November 12th, 2017, 7:47 am

Our daughter is 16 months and I don't play mature games around her. If I play them when she's asleep, I keep the earphones in.

When Mario Odyssey is one, she comes running over and says "WASSAT?" with a bit grin on her face (especially when you highlight 'save' on the pause menu) and she toddles off.

It's a heart warmer, for sure!

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Re: Gaming as a Parent / Raising little Gamers

Post by ThirdDrawing » November 12th, 2017, 2:01 pm

strickenmcq wrote:
May 16th, 2013, 2:19 pm
I can already hear the playground mums and dads who can't stop them playing COD (but that is a much wider debate).
I will never forget being at my parent's neighbours one Xmas Eve for a neighbourhood get together, and hearing one of the dads talk about how terrible GTA Vice City was after he had bought it for his eleven year old son.

He complained that he "didn't know what was on the game" and couldn't tell.

I very politely pointed out that there are very, very clear ratings on video game covers that work exactly the same as movie ratings, and they tell you exactly the information you need to make a purchasing decision. I declined to comment on his parenting because of the season.

Also, I don't think there's any age that's too young to get into gaming, as long as parents are responsible and monitor what their kids are playing/how long they play.

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Beck
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Re: Gaming as a parent / raising little gamers

Post by Beck » November 15th, 2017, 11:54 am

As someone who is yet to become a parent, the above was an enjoyable read.

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Re: Gaming as a parent / raising little gamers

Post by Simonsloth » November 22nd, 2017, 12:39 pm

I enjoyed reading the above posts and it made me take the time to register and post for the first time.

I echo a lot of the sentiments above that there is a time and a place for certain games (and indeed other media) with a definite impact on children which sometimes cannot be anticipated.

My son is 2 and a half now and has been showing an interest in Daddy’s hobby for a year maybe. We’ve dipped in and out of various games with mixed results.

Funnily enough I actually tried to get into farming simulator because he was obsessed with tractors and construction so it ticked his boxes (but not mine). I’ve made mistakes as premature exposure to the Lego/crash bandicoot games led to him smashing everything in sight with whatever he was holding or spinning into everything. Funny at first but tested my wife’s patience. We’ve had nightmares after trivial moments in kids cartoons and a scene in tearaway so I’ve been quite careful.

Recently games like:

everything (getting a set of diggers dancing with giraffes In the desert is always a hit)
journey, flower, Abzu and most notably yooka laylee have been perfect.
When I put him to bed last night he said to me “tomorrow let’s find some more Pagies”. Cute.

I’m interested in any other recommendations. He has a folder on my PS4 which is quite empty with aforementioned games plus littlebigplanet which I’m sure will get it’s moment in the limelight in the coming years.

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Gaming as a parent / raising little gamers

Post by KSubzero1000 » November 22nd, 2017, 2:39 pm

I think he might be a bit young for it now, but I always thought that the Harvest Moon games would be incredibly well-suited for kids. Resource-based gameplay that isn't too complex / confusing, clear UI, and no adult content to speak of. A nice depiction of a simple life in game format which could eventually lead to some nice educational moments about where his food is coming from in later years.

I have no idea if you even have the platform for it or if it'd be up his alley, but that's the first thing I thought of.

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