- Alcohol, Drugs, and Smoking
- Back to School
- Cell Phone Parenting
- Character Strengths and Life Skills
- Cyberbullying, Haters, and Trolls
- Early Childhood
- Facebook, Instagram, and Social
- Learning with Technology
- Marketing to Kids
- Mental Health
- News and Media Literacy
- Privacy and Internet Safety
- Screen Time
- Sex, Gender, and Body Image
- Special Needs and Learning Difficulties
- Technology Addiction
- Violence in Media
How can I talk to my kid about the violence in his video games without sounding like a clueless grown-up whom he'll just tune out?
From the outside looking in, it can seem that video game violence is simply gratuitous. But even violent video games can have some redeeming qualities. They can help kids develop skills in communication, team building, problem solving, logic, and reasoning. Many violent video games also set up complex ethical situations that require players to weigh various dynamics to proceed and succeed. Recognizing this and accepting that your kid's relationship to the game is meaningful for him is a solid foundation. Here are some ways to start the conversation about the violence in your kid's games.
Tap into feelings. Talk to your teen about the types of violence in the game, the role the violence plays, and how he feels when he watches it and has to perform a violent act. Getting him to recognize his emotions will help him understand his attraction to the game and even how the game manipulates his feelings -- and hopefully it will help him choose quality, age-appropriate titles on his own.
Accept that he has a "type." Once your kid has developed a taste for a certain game or a specific type of game (such as a first-person shooter), it may be hard to completely restrict it. It may not be your favorite, but you can search for games in the same genre that have less violence.
Acknowledge his skills. For some kids, being an ace at violent games is kind of a badge of honor among his peers. Help him find other things that he can excel at too.
Recognize he's part of a community. Many video games have active, involved online communities -- or fans in the real world -- and kids enjoy belonging to these groups. Lots of age-appropriate games have strong online communities; get him to try Minecraft, World of Warcraft, Portal, and Team Fortress 2.
Play games as a family. The more age-appropriate, family-friendly games you can get him into, the better.