According to a Pew Internet Study, 99% of boys and 94% of girls play video games. So, clearly video games are a pervasive part of children’s lives. In a 2003 study of 1000 students by Purdue University, they found that eighth grade boys spend an average of 23 hours per week playing video games.

Since virtual life looks like it’s here to stay, we can dictate the role it plays in our lives and how it is incorporated into the family.

 1.   Play as a Family.

a.   Playing with your children allows you to experience the video game’s content first-hand and will create talking points between you and your child.

b.   Don’t allow them to play with online strangers; it is an opportunity for dangerous situations.

2.   Be a role model.

a.   The kids who grew up with early video games are now parents and still enjoy gaming. Remember, however, that anything you play, they will want to play, so be sure to set the example.

3.   Playing is a privilege.

a.   Be sure that kids are completing homework and doing well in school before being allowed to play.

b.   Limit the amount of time your children spend playing games.

c.   Do not install game systems in your child’s bedroom.

4.   Choose games with educational or creative value.

a.   Games can serve to help kids learn to spell, read, learn math and teach coordination so pick programs that serve a purpose rather than just serve as a babysitter.

Angela’s Teachable Moment: Letting your kids teach you how to play a game gives them the opportunity to be the teacher and will empower them and make them feel important.