For many parents the world of gaming can be daunting, uncharted territory. It’s constantly changing and evolving. As a parent, you want your child to have fun doing the things they love while being safe. Every family has their own unique set of values and culture. Review this list and decide which ones are right for you. So whether you’re hosting a GameTruck party or simply having some much needed quiet time while the kids game, here are eight different ways to encourage video game safety and fun.
Make it a Family Activity
One way you can play with and protect your child online is by gaming with them. Make it a family event! Have them teach you how to play!
Look Into Parental Controls
From scammers to harmful content, take advantage of these controls to help protect your kids from a wide range of online threats. Do not give it out. Make it unique and not something easily guessed by those who know you.
Research Games before your Child Plays Them
Every family has different values. While certain games may be acceptable in your child’s friend’s house, they may contain offensive elements or themes. Always research to ensure that a game aligns with your standards to maximize video game safety for your child.
Know who they are watching.
If your child watches any streamers, know who they are as they may promote content on or off the platform that is not suitable for children.
Know what “multiplayer” means.
This term means that players interact with one another. This feature may or may not be monitored for violations of community guidelines. Encourage your child to report abusive / inappropriate behavior in the reporting area of the game.
Monitor “trash talk”.
Be vigilant for cyberbullying. Encourage your child to speak out if they or another player are not being treated right especially if there is a report feature in the game. Encourage them to block any player that makes them feel uncomfortable. Let them know they can always talk to you about things that happen online.
Know how to read an ESRB rating.
You want to protect your kid as they game, but with so many out there, it can be hard to know if one is right for your family. One easy way to gather information about a game is to look at their ESRB rating. It’ll tell you 3 important things…
- The big top box states the reason it got this rating. These reasons can include things like gore, gambling, substances, and much more. This section highlights anything that might be a concern for parents.
- The small bottom box lists “interactive Elements”. These are things that may be helpful for the parent to know before making a decision; however, these interactive elements do not play a role in determining a game’s ESRB rating. This section can include sharing location, in-game purchases, player interactions, and more.
- The Letter signals the suggested age range for players.
Understand the different types of video games.
There are several different types. Educate yourself about the different platforms your child likes to game on. Here are just a few types of gaming platforms…
- Free-to-Play – ad-supported games that are free but include paid upgrades and add-ons (such as extra lives and tools), frequently found on mobile devices
- Subscription Games – games that are streamed and accessed through an account.
- Social Networking Games – connected with and played within social sites (often through Facebook), pulls user information from profiles and offers paid upgrades and add-ons
- Digital Downloads – game downloaded directly to a console or computer (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii have their own online marketplaces)
Gaming with family and friends can be a great way to build meaningful connections and memories, but video game safety should always be a priority. Implement this list to enhance your family’s safety while having a great time online!
We’ve all heard of Minecraft. The game of pixelated cubes where kids build and explore the world, braving monsters and the elements to survive. But did you know that this game can be a great tool to help your child learn? It can! Many classrooms worldwide have started to use this fun game to help engage students in active learning, so whether your family is playing this at a Minecraft-themed GameTruck party or at home, this game can be a helpful educational tool. Learning should be fun and exciting. What better way than a video game your kid loves?
If you’ve never played Minecraft before, try playing it with your child. You can be an active member in their academic development by simply having fun playing a video game with them. Here are three skills that Minecraft helps teach kids.
How many minutes until nightfall? Is there a way to divide our resources fairly among all the players? How do we build a town that’ll house everyone? These are all example math questions that kids have asked without realizing they’re learning. To be successful in Minecraft, they must practically apply general math principles. In an educational study of teachers using Minecraft for math instruction, 71% of teachers saw “improvement in student numeracy and computational thinking.” A Los Angeles teacher told ID Tech that his Minecraft Math program helped students grow 65%, going from 18% to 83% during end-of-the-year retesting.
Who wants to memorize a long list of historical dates, places, and facts? Very few people! This is where Minecraft can step in to save the day! You can import in-game, fully reconstructed versions of famous places and landmarks for kids to tour. They can engage in learning from anywhere in the world, creating fun memories with their friends as they learn history. Minecraft presents a fun alternative to memorizing historical lists by encouraging students to be hands-on with history through gaming.
One way we as parents can prepare our kids for their future careers is by teaching them “soft skills.” They are useful for almost any profession. Soft skills include teamwork, problem-solving, creative thinking, and communication. Minecraft can help kids develop these soft skills in a fun, virtual environment.
In a recent educational study of teachers who used Minecraft in the classroom, 98% of teachers said problem-solving was the top skill students took away from playing Minecraft in the classroom. From devising a plan to fend off monsters to building a secure farming compound, the numerous learning opportunities present themselves in engaging ways. Developing and nurturing soft skills are another educational benefit to playing Minecraft.
With all of these benefits, it’s easy to see why teachers and parents use this video game as an educational tool. If you’ve never played before, consider giving it a try with your kids on your next free day! You may not be a teacher, but you can help them engage in active learning by having fun with them playing Minecraft. Give it a try! Book your Minecraft party with GameTruck today!
Looking for tips on creating schedules for children that help them thrive? In life, seasons are rarely the same. Transitioning from summer fun days to heading back to school, can present some challenges for kids. You want your kid to thrive no matter what life throws at them. One way to accomplish this is through a family schedule.
By carefully creating schedules for children, you can address specific problems such as eliminating stress, managing behavior issues, promoting organization, and ensuring ample quality time with family. Moreover, through scheduling you enable your child to feel confident, safe, engaged, and ready to participate. Here are six tips to create an awesome schedule that’ll help your kids thrive.
Tip 1: Think about what you want
First and foremost, think about what problems you are trying to solve. Maybe you are trying to eliminate stress, behavior problems, disorganization, or something else. What goals do you have? Maybe you’re wanting to create a schedule that devotes more time to being with family. Think about the problems and goals that you want your schedule to accomplish.
Tip 2: Brainstorm with the Kids
After you have thought about what you want, involve the kids in the process. Let them have input on the schedule. This will increase the likelihood of them following the new schedule and create a sense of ownership as they helped create it. By engaging them in the brainstorming session, you foster a collaborative and inclusive approach to scheduling.
Tip 3: Be Realistic
Take a step back and examine your goals, priorities, and life as a whole. Simultaneously, ask what is most important to you and your kids. Make these the top priorities.
Moreover, be careful to avoid overscheduling. This can increase stress on the kids and create more problems. It can be good to have free space and down time each day instead of constant activities.
Tip 4: Write it Down
Once you have finalized the schedule, ensure to write it down and post it where everyone can see. Additionally, take the time to discuss the schedule with the kids, addressing any questions or concerns. Focus on clarity and address any questions.
Tip 5: Try it for a Week & Update
To test the effectiveness of the schedule, do a week-long trial run. After the week is over, think about what went well and what needs improvement. Make any changes, and do it again!
This is an area where kids can help contribute as well. Ask them for feedback as well for you to consider when updating it.
Tip 6: Be Patient
Implementing changes can be challenging for everyone involved. Be patient with yourself and your kids as you implement these changes. It can take kids a minute to adjust especially if there are new expectations or limitations added into the schedule such as earlier bedtimes or less screen time.
Be consistent in your approach to the schedule. It’ll take a moment for everyone to adjust, but it’ll be worth it when the process is complete.
While it can take a moment to craft the perfect schedule and get it to stick, they bring many benefits to the whole family!
Looking for the ultimate gaming experience for your next party or event? Check out GameTruck, the leading provider of mobile video game parties.
Checkout our other blog on tips for parenting!