Term is over, holidays have begun and for many of us it will be a very odd festive season indeed. With family social gatherings limited and most entertainments outside home unavailable, there will be many children turning to their devices for entertainment instead. And why not – they can provide lots of fun with family and friends!
Whether you have new games and devices appearing under the Christmas tree or you’re revisiting some old favourites, we recommend the advice found on www.askaboutgames.com and the Get Smart About P.L.A.Y. campaign which encourages more parents and carers to use tools that manage screen time and in-game purchases on video game consoles. It is based around a four-step process:
P – Play with your kids. Discover amazing games and understand what they play and why.
L – Learn about family controls for your console.
A – Ask what your kids think. Discuss ground rules before setting restrictions.
Y – You’re in charge. Set restrictions that work for your family.
Many children wish their parents knew more about the games they play. Playing alongside them not only provides great opportunities to bond and have fun together but also enables parents to understand the challenges, achievements, risks and pleasures of the games their children play.
A really useful app from the Pan European Gaming Information organisation (Search for “PEGI ratings”) is free to download and provides a host of useful information about the PEGI age ratings for a range of popular online games. By clicking on a particular game, you can see advice for consumers, a brief summary of the game and any content specific issues. It also has a section describing how to use the parental controls for each of the different types of games consoles.
Parental controls are your first line defence in keeping your children safe online and it might be a good idea to set these up on any devices you are gifting this year, before you wrap them up. That way your child will be able to get on and use them safely as soon as they are opened!
Don’t forget the World Health Organisation Guidelines too –
“Children and adolescents aged 5-17 years
- should do at least an average of 60 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous intensity, mostly aerobic, physical activity, across the week.
- should incorporate vigorous-intensity aerobic activities, as well as those that strengthen muscle and bone, at least 3 days a week.
- should limit the amount of time spent being sedentary, particularly the amount of recreational screen time.”
From all of us at Gooseberry Planet we wish you a safe, happy and healthy holiday!