As the name of this website suggests, we’re ‘Grown Gamers’ – at least for the most part. We’re the demographic that makes up the bulk of the gaming industry today. We’re professionals, full-time workers, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers – and much more. However, we do appreciate and recognise that there is a vast wealth of adults out there who might need to learn about gaming.
More specifically, there are parents who do not play games while their children do.
Of course, some of us here at Grown Gaming have first-hand experience of this way of living. Although I played video games with my parents when I was younger, this didn’t remain the case as I grew up. In fact, as games became more advanced and I involved myself deeper in online gaming, I found myself distancing from my parents.
These days, I believe there is a broad category of parents who ‘don’t understand’. They have trouble connecting with their child’s main interest – gaming. It’s quite often by no fault of their own, but just isn’t something they take interest with.
How can parents learn about gaming?
UKIE (UK Interactive Entertainment Association) are trying to change this. They’ve launched the Get Smart About P.L.A.Y campaign, designed to close this gap and educate parents. This action will seek to teach parents more about the games their children are playing, what various aspects of the gaming world mean, and how they can better manage their family’s time on consoles.
In my opinion, it’s a brilliant idea. It’s not something that hasn’t been done before, but UKIE are doing it well. Their website contains a plethora of practical information, ranging from ‘parents’ guides’ on the most popular titles, to explanations of PEGI ratings. There’s a repository of articles detailing the top family titles, and the psychological impact of games on children.
What’s the best part about this?
It’s not designed specifically to ‘warn’ parents, or to brainwash them. It isn’t a campaign that empowers parents to control their children, but encourages them to join in and learn about gaming.
This is how it works:
In short, don’t berate your children for playing video games all the time – understand why they enjoy them. Instead of enforcing strict ruling, understand family controls and how they can benefit everyone. Don’t dismiss it as a silly obsession, but engage with your children about the games they love.
Ultimately, this is about finding a balance. The campaign will assist you in setting ground rules that work for everyone. It’ll enable parents to better understand the potential danger – and at the same time relative safety – of online gaming.
This is what it boils down to for the majority of parents: are my children safe online? Who do they talk to when they’re playing games online? Can I monitor their online interactions? What are they spending money on in these games? How can I learn about gaming? These are the questions that this campaign will help you answer.
Personally, I’m an advocate of this movement. I worked in the UK’s leading video game retailer for three years, and I advised countless parents on gaming purchases. We would get all manner of questions, from “Is Xbox Live safe”, to “Can my eight-year-old play Grand Theft Auto?” If parents have a recognisable and accessible resource to turn to with their questions, everyone will benefit.
What do you think?
Is this campaign something you want? Should parents be more educated on their child’s gaming habits? Let us know in the comments, or connect on social media.