Your little one might be begging you to buy them a certain game, however as a responsible parent, you sometimes have to put your foot down: some video games for kids simply aren’t suitable for certain age groups.
The quickest and easiest way to check a game’s suitability for your child is to look at the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s (ESRB) rating. This can be found on the front and back of the packaging. The ESRB rates video games according to 3 factors.
- Rating Categories: will suggest the age appropriateness of the game.
- Content Descriptors: will indicate what type of content contributed to the particular rating.
- Interactive Elements: indicate if, and what, type of personal information may be shared with third parties throughout use of the game.
If you want to buy them a suitable game they will love, take a look at our following tips on finding age-appropriate video games for kids.
Pre-School Aged Children
For the youngest children, games that involve basic learning concepts, music or interaction are great. A huge portion of games geared toward this age group are specifically meant to be educational, so it’s easy to find excellent options. Look out for games that parents or carers can play with the children and also those which develop real-world and social skills.
Elementary School Aged Children
For children aged 6 to 10, look for a game with informational content that ties to real-world subjects and teaches them more about the world around them. There are plenty of games in which the learning component may not be so obvious. A sport game, for instance, can teach your child about teamwork, athleticism and how to analyse and react to offensive and defensive plays.
Junior School Aged Children
Children aged 11 to 14 are starting to become more competitive. This means they may be ready to start playing multiplayer games, or games where they play against others on the same platform or online. Be sure to monitor their gameplay or set parental controls because these games allow players to interact with one another, meaning older children will be interacting with younger children.
Games that allow children to build things and create their own aspects of the game — such as buildings, characters or even levels — are especially great for this age group.
Video games for children can be a really positive thing. They can allow children to express their creativity and use their imaginations, and they can encourage children to think in ways they normally would not. So if a game sparks your child’s interest, has some educational value and has a respectable rating for your child’s age group, go for it!