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  • Writer's pictureMerlyn

The Impact of Age-Inappropriate Games on Children: What B.C. Parents Need to Know

In today’s digital era, video games are a staple in many Canadian homes, offering both entertainment and educational content. However, the exposure of children to video games designed for older audiences can lead to unintended and often harmful consequences. This blog addresses the risks associated with children playing games that are rated above their age group and provides guidance for parents navigating this challenging landscape.

Two teen boys sit on a couch playing a video game that is just off screen.
Kids are eager to grow up fast, diving into experiences they're not yet ready to handle.

Understanding the Risks

Desensitization to Violence:

Children exposed to violent content in video games may become desensitized to violence, which can decrease their response to the suffering of others. Over time, this can normalize aggressive behaviour as a method of conflict resolution.


Development of Aggressive Behaviours:

Studies have shown a correlation between exposure to violent video games and an increase in aggressive thoughts and behaviours. This is particularly concerning for children, whose social and emotional development can be significantly impacted.


Premature Exposure to Mature Themes:

Games rated for older players often contain mature themes that are not suitable for younger audiences. These can include explicit language, sexual content, and portrayals of complex emotional and social situations that children are not equipped to understand or process.


Best Practices for Parents

1. Check Game Ratings:

Always check the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings to ensure that video games are appropriate for your child’s age. These ratings provide valuable guidance on the content and suitability based on different age groups.


2. Set Parental Controls:

Make use of parental controls available on gaming consoles and computers to restrict access to age-inappropriate games. These tools can be vital in managing what content your child can access.


3. Co-Play and Monitor:

Whenever possible, play video games with your children. This not only allows you to understand the content they are being exposed to but also offers a chance to discuss the game’s themes and messages.


4. Foster Open Communication:

Encourage your children to talk about the games they play and how they feel about the content. Open communication can help mitigate any negative impacts and reinforce family values.


5. Educate on Media Literacy:

Teach your children to question and analyze media content critically. Media literacy is a crucial skill that helps children understand and contextualize what they see and hear in video games.

Conclusion

As parents, it’s crucial to be proactive about the video games our children engage with. By understanding the potential risks and implementing strategies to mitigate them, we can ensure that gaming remains a positive part of their lives.


For more information about age appropriate games see

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