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Video Game Safety Guidelines for Parents


Child Development Institute recommends Kid Safe Video Games for children and teens. Please check the Game Rating to be sure a specific game is appropriate for your child’s age. The American Academy of Pediatrics cautions that video game ratings are not always accurate. We encourage you to look-up and carefully read the Game Review from Game Critics to determine if the content reflects what you feel is appropriate for your child.

We believe that playing video games should be limited and should not use up too much of the time your child devotes to play. While video games are fun and can help develop coordination and planning skills, they are no substitute for more active play.

There is substantial research that the violence in even seemingly tame video games does lead to increased violence in children and adolescents. To avoid possible violence we encourage purchasing games from these categories: Racing & Flying, Role-Playing, Sports & Outdoors and Strategy. While we do not recommend Mature-Rated Games which are for 17 and above, if you are considering buying these games for your young adult child, we encourage you to read this list of Mature Video Games Parent’s Should Watch Out For and also check out the Dirty Dozen lists from the Lion and Lamb Project. You should know that video games are no longer kids play. Actually, 66% of gamers are over 18 with the average age of 29. According to the Entertainment Software Association, of all games sold in 2003: 54% were rated Everyone (E), 30.5% were rated Teen (T) and 11.9% were rated Mature (M).

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The American Academy of Pediatrics wants parents to know that media does have an impact on children and teens which can be positive or negative. We encourage you to read Understanding the Impact of Media on Children and Teens.

Playing violent video games is to an adolescent’s violent behavior what smoking tobacco is to lung cancer. That’s according to information included in the revised AAP Policy Statement Media Violence, which indicates that playing violent video games accounts for a 13% to 22% increase in adolescents’ violent behavior compared to a 14% increase in lung cancer from smoking tobacco.

Some basic guidelines include:

  • Make a media plan. Schedule media times and choices in advance, just as you would other activities.
  • Set media time limits. Limit children’s total screen time. The AAP recommends no more than 1 to 2 hours of quality TV and videos per day and NONE for children under the age of 2.
  • Make media a family activity. Whenever possible, use media with your children and discuss what they see, hear, and read.