I fully admit that my avid video gaming ended right around the time Atari dropped off everyone's radar in the eighties. I've dabbled here and there since with various gaming systems but truly as my son would say: "I'm a nube or noob (depending on your understanding of the slang.)"
However since he is an avid player and usually throws one or two titles my way during the holiday/birthday season (his birthday is three days after Christmas--yes, I know what you're thinking,) I feel it is my duty to educate myself on what is and isn't appropriate. I find it hard to navigate my way through the latest popular console and computer games and I don't want my son out there on his own.
Wake Forest University professor Marina Krcmar studies the effects of "realistic" video games on children and teens and found that the more realistic a game is, the more effected the children can become (negatively,) in some cases producing disturbing consequences such as elevated aggression. Krcmar encourages parents to become more in-tune to what their children are playing and to become better educated consumers when it comes to the video gaming industry. She offers the following tips for parents (A holiday guide of sorts):
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• Don’t trust the marketers. Many games that are marketed to kids are completely inappropriate for them. She recommends finding out as much as you can about content from as many independent sources as possible.
• Look for strategy games instead of “first-person shooter” games. First-person shooter games involve a complete immersion in a realistic violent world where shooting people results in rewards. Krcmar recommends strategy games instead. Finding good ones takes more effort because they are not marketed as well as some of the more violent games.
• Pay attention after the new video games are unwrapped. Set up game systems in family living spaces. Talk to your kids about the games they are playing. Set up game systems in family living spaces.
I have actually set up an online account for myself at a gaming site from which my son purchases a lot of his favorites. So now I find myself reading reviews and often scratching my head. In addition, I talk to my son about why he likes this or that game and try to gain some insight as to what he gets out of it. I'm still a "nube" but one who is willing to at least try and understand the difference between fun gaming and sitting in front of a screen and shooting things. At any rate, I think he likes when I take an interest--sometimes.
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