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This post is brought to you by Pixelkin. Please note that, as always, any personal opinions reflected in this post are my own and have not been influenced by the sponsor or compensation received in any way.
If you’re like many parents you may have one or more children that enjoys gaming. It’s hard not to be exposed to gaming when it’s all around us – gaming consoles, desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones coming to mind immediately. My youngest plays games on our iPod and iPad, on his Wii and on his DS. Truthfully I don’t really worry about how much time he spends gaming. If I see he’s been at it too much I either tell him to turn it off or I take it away. I worry far more about what it is he’s actually playing. I may tell my hubby I know everything but the reality is that I don’t. (Just don’t tell him that.) I don’t and can’t know everything. So what do I do when I want more information? I go online and research.
Pixelkin is an up and coming online community that covers the latest news, reviews, and developments in game – with a special focus on families. Whether you’re concerned about learning opportunities, exposure to violence, or screen time – or you’re just trying to keep up with your kids – Pixeklin is a helpful resource you can always turn to.
I checked out the site and liked what I saw. There were extremely in-depth game reviews. Now what I liked the most about these reviews is that they were factual and not judgmental. Different people have different standards. Pixelkin simply presents the facts about the games it’s community members reviews and leaves the decisions (and judgments) to you. Details found in reviews are numerous, including storyline, game background, changes in the game from previous versions, and possible objectionable content. That’s right – possible. The site leaves it for you, the parent, to decide what’s appropriate for your child and what isn’t. In one very popular graphic shoot em up game I found talking points, to encourage discussion with your child before/while/after you play the game together. And there’s much, much more, depending on the game and the reviewer. That’s not all Pixelkin has. Pixelkin also has lots of articles, lists, stories and tips.
Here is a brief article, courtesy of Pixelkin, on things to keep in mind when evaluating your child’s gaming habits.
Scenario: your kids are looking at screens, like, 24-7. You don’t think they’ve looked you in the eye in weeks. In fact, you’re starting to wonder whether they even remember what you look like. You’re worried they’re spending way too much time with their computers and consoles, and hey, let’s be honest—you miss your children!
This is new for families. In the past, we didn’t have this many devices and interfaces surrounding us all the time—there was the TV, sure, and in the more recent past, maybe a family computer—but that was it. Today we’ve got smartphones, handheld game consoles, tablets, laptops, and hey, the television hasn’t exactly disappeared either. So I know what you’re thinking: I how do you manage and balance screen time for your kids? How much screen time is too much?
Like everything requiring moderation, there isn’t a clear cut answer. What Pixelkin, an organization in Seattle dedicated to providing the latest news, reviews and developments in gaming – with a special focus on families – suggests:
1. Determine what the screen time is being used for.
What are they doing when they’re looking at the screen? Is it being used for learning, socializing, playing or relaxing? Screen time is something that we all use now for different purposes – many kids doing their homework online, will engage with friends far and wide through the computer or a video game, and use technology to play and relax (i.e. video games on the computer, phone or console). Once you have that information determine what is going to work best for your child and prioritize what type of screen time should come first and talk with your child about this balance.
2. Engage with them.
Use screen time and gaming as a way to connect with your child and build a stronger relationship. And, we’re not the only ones that do this – 59% of parents feel that gaming as a family brings them closer. So engage with your kids by playing a game together, Pixelkin has a library of game reviews to help you find the best ones.