Saturday, 25 October 2014

How to Choose an Appropriate Video Game for Children

Age appropriate and educational games that me and both kids enjoy from Nintendo on 3DS/ 2DS
I know a lot of people, including specialists, said that children learn best through playing with toys than watching TV and playing games (including online short games, video games, apps, etc). But we are in the digital age now, and I think that a good balance between educational toys, fun toys, digital toys and games will only help children do better than worse.

I think the main problem with digital games (I'll call it that for now, just to make it easier), is that you have to make sure that they are appropriate for your child, just like how you would choose an appropriate toy for them to play with. There are a lot of games out there that looks fun to play, with cute characters and pretty pastel colours, but are only suitable for adults (and some aren't even suitable for adults!). If you aren't familiar with them and just let your child take their pick, the result can be fairly damaging (seriously, violent shooting/ killing games? There really is no excuse there is it? They are obviously not suitable for children under 16/ 18!).

According to GAME junior's research, appro 40% of parents aren't sure what video games are suitable for their children. So how do you choose a suitable digital game for your child to play, that is age appropriate, fun and educational? It is actually really simple, all entertainment contents (e.g. films, DVDs, video games) have a PEGI age rating -  3, 7, 12, 16 and 18. Use that as your guiding point to make sure that the game you or your child choose is suitable for their age. For example:

PEGI 7 age rating means that that the content is only suitable for age 7 and above to play/ watch, ie, not suitable for children 6 or below.

Do note that the PEGI age rating considers the age suitability of an entertainment content, but not the level of difficulty of a game.

Now you know about the PEGI age rating, the next thing to do is to find that game amongst a huge collection of games, and I recommend checking out GAME junior section to make it easier.

GAME has recently launched their junior section online and in stores, where parents can easily find games that are suitable for children aged 12 and under. This is not saying that everything is suitable for children under 7 for example, but you can easily use the PEGI age rating under the junior section to find the right ones for your child, instead of exposing them to the vast amount of unsuitable choices and cover photos. Teaming with the Top 10 charts on their site, you can easily find the most popular game that is suitable for your child.

For young children, I also recommend Nintendo 2DS/ 3DS games, as Nintendo do the most young children appropriate games that can be very educational. The 2DS console (link to our review) is one of the cheapest on the market as well, so if you want an affordable console that can endure rough handling by young children and plenty of cute, fun and educational games, do check them out.