Ways to prevent your child from playing violent video games

By: Steve Langdon

Car crashes. Explosions. Gore. Violence.

These are all things that come to mind when thinking of popular video games. Computers and consoles are becoming more advanced too, making games look like the real world.  

One thing to keep in mind if your child does play video games are the effects of playing too long. Your child may spend less time socializing with friends and family and develop poor social skills. It could also result in poor grades says the American Academy of Childhood & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). 

Do you ever think, “this game does not seem very child friendly” or “should my child be playing this game?”

If so, I may have the answers you are looking for.

Read the ESRB label

This is the first thing every parent should look at before deciding if a game is suitable for their child. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) handles all games found in stores and most found online. There are currently six different ratings that can be put on games: Rating Pending (RP), Everyone (E), Everyone 10 plus (E10+), Teen (T), Mature (M), and Adults Only (AO).

Those ratings can be found at the bottom left corner of every game box. If you are unsure what the rating is, check https://www.esrb.org/. Type the title into the search bar and all the information will be available. Remember to view the label before purchasing.

View the gameplay beforehand

Besides reading the label, it is best to watch some gameplay before buying the game. A quick Google search will lead to dozens of videos and hours of content.

Sometimes the ESRB rating can be lower than it should. And every parent is different. Do you want your child playing this game?

Some parents may be accepting of their child playing rated “T” games when they are 13.  Others may wait until their child is 15 before playing those games. It should be you making that determination. Not the ESRB. They provide only a rough guideline. So, watch the game.

Do not give into temptation or “kid” pressure

Arguably the most important suggestion on my list is not to give into temptation. I am sure most parents have heard their kid provide a “compelling” reason why they should play a violent game.  “My friends play it all the time.” “If their parents let them play it, why can’t I?”  I remember using those “compelling” reasons myself. But there is a good way to control the problem.

I suggest not getting really mad at this kind of situation. It could cause more problems if a screaming match breaks out. I suggest calmly handling the problem. Dr. Lauber suggests reminding them that you are the parent and you are in charge of this house and the toys you bought. For older children, you might want to negotiate some sort of compromise if there are other games you will allow.

I hope these tips are helpful. I know I put up a fight when my parents didn’t allow me to play certain games. But I now see they were wiser than me. Your kids will feel that way too.

Someday. (smile)

Useful links:

https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-and-Video-Games-Playing-with-Violence-091.aspx

Here is a direct link to the “policy” PDF of the American Psych0logical Association on violent video games:

APA Violent Video Games policy paper

What parents should know about ‘Among Us’

By Steve Langdon

“Among Us” has officially become the game of the fall season. The game has been around since 2018 but has suddenly taken off with kids and young adults.

The graphics in “Among Us” have a cartoon feel and are more catered to older teens and young adults. Its jump in popularity is partly because it is free on mobile devices and tablets. 

The game is simple. Video gamers are put in lobbies consisting of 10 or fewer online players. At least one person at the start of each game is deemed the imposter. The rest of the players are crewmates.

Goals of the game are different depending on your role. The imposter’s job is to eliminate the crewmates, while making sure they do not get caught and voted out. The crewmates’ jobs are to complete a variety of different tasks and determine who is the imposter. Players move a 3D building and don’t see each other when they are out of sight.

Tasks are different each game. They might be connecting the colored wires, clicking one to 10 or a Simon says style minigame. 

Although it has a cartoon style, it does get violent when the imposter eliminates crewmates. The animations range from a gunshot to the head to a spear through the head. All of these are violent. This leaves the remains of the character without the top half of their body.

The crewmates must find the body and report it, or if someone is acting suspicious, hit the red button. Everyone must work together and vote someone out.  

I’ve played the game many times and I would say this mobile game is not for early teens and younger children. The game feels and looks innocent until the eliminations (bloody deaths). If your teen wants to play it, ask them to let you watch their first game. Then you can determine together if it is appropriate. Remember, the super-violent part doesn’t happen until character gets killed or witnesses a character get killed.

Overall, “Among Us” isn’t a bad game. Lots of my twenty-something-yr-old friends are playing and enjoying it. It teaches you to think of different strategies and has a psychological/manipulative component that is not in a lot of point-and-shoot games. no That makes it a nice change of pace after maybe playing the same games in lockdown for the past half year.

As always, if your kid is a pre-teen or younger, remember – you’re in charge.

Links: https://www.kidspot.com.au/parenting/real-life/in-the-news/among-us-game-what-parents-need-to-know-to-keep-kids-safe/news-story/feec29694ae8829f8dc143b7bbe253d1

“Fall” in Love with these Seasonal Activities

By Steven Langdon Jr

Fall is in the air. The weather is getting colder, and the geese are booking their tickets south. 

 Although this fall – like much of the year – will not quite be the same, many Fall activities can still be enjoyed. Of course you’re still concerned about safety. So we’ve pulled together some of the best, and safest, things you can still do this Fall season.

Carve a pumpkin

This is a fun activity no matter what age you are. Most farms are still open but some of them may have restrictions or change their hours, so call ahead. 

If your farm is closed or you do not feel safe going to one, do not worry. Many local grocery stores and Walmart’s also carry pumpkins. 

There are many kits and videos on the Internet that could help, if this is your first time carving a pumpkin. I think it’s a great activity for the whole family and is a great way to show off your creativity. Maybe there can even be a family competition to see who has the best design. 

Navigate a Corn Maze

A personal favorite of my family’s is the corn maze. These are perfect for anyone that loves puzzles and does not mind getting lost once or twice in the process. 

Some farms have both pumpkins and corn mazes. Why not knock out two birds with one stone? Out here in rural America often you can finish the corn maze and then relax while taking a ride over to the pumpkin patch to pick your pumpkin. 

Play outdoor sports 

The weather is cool and it is football season. And many people will go out to toss the pigskin. But that’s not the only sport one can play.

You could toss around a frisbee, or play a round of golf. Maybe try badminton, baseball or tennis, all of which can be played while observing social distancing guidelines. 

 Did you know there are two other versions of golf? 

One is disc golf, which we wrote about in a June 11th article. There’s also footgolf, which we wrote about on Sept. 6th. Both of them are similar to golf but with a twist. Disc golf has frisbees and footgolf has a soccer ball. 

Looking at the Fall leaves

Around here the most common Fall activity is to look at the remarkable display of colors that is the forests of Pennsylvania. Thousands of variations of colors like orange, red and yellow. And the best part is it may not cost you any money. Maybe it’s a short drive for you to find your areas Fall display of leaves. 

At the least, if gets you in the “Fall” mood to see what nature can create with just the change of the seasons. 

Links