Family gaming guide: Tips and tricks for healthy video gaming

by | Nov 7, 2023 | Health and Wellness, Home and Living

Some people think of video games as being unhealthy or unsafe for kids, but with a few smart strategies and ground rules, they can be a creative outlet for youth, provide stress relief, improve critical thinking skills, encourage self-esteem and help develop socialization skills.

Whether you know a young adult who just can’t get enough of their favourite game, or a child dipping their toes into the world of virtual gaming, here are some tips to feel confident that your family is gaming safely and having a good time.

Ask questions
Before getting your kids a new game, ask them a few questions, including what it’s about, where they heard of it, who they know who is playing it and what they should do if they come across something inappropriate in the game. You could even try playing the game with them – it will open up the opportunity for more detailed and ongoing conversations with them.

Also look up the official audience rating for any game your kid wants to play. You can read online reviews and check out online videos of people playing the game to see what it’s like.

Get involved
When it comes to multiplayer or online games, teach players how to report any cyberbullying or inappropriate behaviour, consider disabling chat for younger children, and review the settings regularly. Keeping the gaming console in a common family room and connecting the sound to a shared speaker are also great ways to keep an eye on their gameplay. As your kids get into video games, have regular chats about what they’re playing, and ask them what they like and don’t like about the games.

Time it out
Screen time is a big concern for many parents, especially as excessive amounts may cause eye strain and affect mood, behaviour, physical fitness and social skills. While recommendations on exact amounts vary, moderation is always a good choice, so set household rules to make sure your family understands the limits.

When it comes to video games, experts from Telus Wise, a free digital literacy education program, suggest encouraging your kids to take breaks when they’ve accomplished something in gameplay. That boost to self-esteem can make them want to keep playing, but it’s also a way to pause on a high note so they leave the game feeling good.

Living in a digital age brings lots of challenges for parents, but there are also plenty of tools to help. Find more free tips and resources at telus.com/wise

Related Content

Give your kitchen cabinets a facelift in 6 easy steps

Give your kitchen cabinets a facelift in 6 easy steps

New kitchen or fresh paint? With some simple preparation, a little paint and a free weekend, you can transform the look and feel of your kitchen in just a couple of days. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started. Prep the area Empty your cabinets and remove the...

read more
5 ways for busy parents to tackle stress

5 ways for busy parents to tackle stress

Whether you’re expecting your first little one, have rambunctious toddlers running around or you’re smack-dab in the middle of those tough teenage years, parenting is full of memorable milestones, fun celebrations  –  and plenty of stress. Since stress wreaks havoc on...

read more
Top tips to help older adults improve their oral health

Top tips to help older adults improve their oral health

Today’s seniors can expect to keep most, if not all, of their natural teeth as they age thanks to healthier lifestyles and advances in oral and medical care. But keeping those teeth healthy can be a challenge. Restricted mobility, cognitive impairments and medications...

read more
Tips for staying healthy as you age

Tips for staying healthy as you age

Embracing the wisdom that comes with age can be a rewarding experience. With age comes the advantage of knowledge and life experiences. You may find yourself better equipped to make important life decisions and, hopefully, have the means to pursue your passions. Here...

read more
Dry mouth: When drinking more water isn’t enough

Dry mouth: When drinking more water isn’t enough

A sticky, dry mouth is more than an uncomfortable feeling. Occasional dry mouth from nervousness or dehydration goes away with a glass of water. But if your mouth is often dry, your tongue is sticking to the roof of your mouth, and it is difficult to chew, swallow and...

read more
Easy ways to honour Earth Day in April and all year

Easy ways to honour Earth Day in April and all year

Every April 22nd Canadians across the country take action for the environment, whether it’s school children participating in a community clean up or families committing to new green goals, like washing their clothes in cold water and hanging them to dry. Here are six...

read more