Gaming can be beneficial for kids and adults alike, but you’ll need to put some effort into creating a safe and functional gaming setup at home. From choosing the right gaming console for your kids to making sure your home internet connection can handle heavy video game usage, creating a family-friendly gaming experience isn’t quite as simple as buying a computer or Nintendo Switch and stocking up on a few video games. For some tips on creating a safe and enjoyable gaming experience for your family, read on!
*Guest post contributed by Alyssa Strickland from millennial-parents.com
Image via Pixabay
Choose the Right Gaming Console
Before your family can start playing video games at home, you’ll need to purchase everything from a gaming console to one or more controllers and headsets. If you decide on a home video game console — such as the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch — it will come equipped with at least one gaming controller. However, you could purchase additional home console controllers if other family members or friends will be playing.
In addition to home gaming consoles, other systems to choose from include desktop computers for PC gaming and handheld devices such as the Nintendo 2DS, Nintendo 3DS, and GPD XD Plus. The Nintendo Switch can be transformed into a handheld device, making it an excellent option for home gaming and travel.
If you’re buying a pre-built desktop computer for your little gamers, keep in mind that you’ll also need to look for a good monitor to go with it. But fortunately, you can find quality models that fit nearly any budget — any many even feature widescreen IPS displays (In-Plane Switching Technology), zero frame designs, and high screen resolutions. Desktop gamers also need a keyboard and mouse, and PC controllers may be purchased separately.
Boost Your Internet Connection
Once you’ve chosen a console for your household, you’ll need to make sure your internet connection can handle your family’s gaming activities. You could either boost your internet connection with a few simple tips and tricks from the pros at WIRED, or you could change or upgrade your internet service to a new plan. Fiber-optic connections are best for playing online multiplayer games, as you’ll experience minimal buffering and lag, smoother gameplay, and faster download and upload speeds. If fiber-optic internet isn’t available where you live, however, other options could include cable, DSL, and satellite internet.
Look for Family-Friendly Video Games
Next, you’ll need to find a few family-friendly video games for your kids to play on their new gaming console. While the best video games for your children will depend on their ages, interests, and the gaming console they’ll be playing on, PBS recommends the following for kids aged five- to- 12:
- The Jackbox Party Pack, All Platforms
- Super Mario Odyssey, Nintendo Switch
- Mario Party, Nintendo Wii, Wii U, Gamecube, N64
- Lego Star Wars, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Android, Microsoft Windows, iOS, Nintendo DS, macOS
- Towerfall Ascension, All Platforms
For teens, a few great options include the Ghost of Tsushima, Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, The Sims 4: Eco Lifestyle, and Murder by Numbers.
Keep Your Kids Safe Online
Before your children start playing their new video games, it’s important to review the parental control settings on your gaming devices and restrict access to any of the features that could put your kids in harm’s way. For instance, you could restrict your kids from accessing inappropriate content, chatting with other gamers online, and downloading new games without your permission. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has some great information on its website, helping you to protect your kids from violent content, profanity, online bullying, and other internet dangers.
In order to create a safe, functional, and enjoyable gaming experience at home, it’s important to choose the right gaming console for your family — whether it’s a desktop computer or home video game console. Before playing, however, you’ll want to use the parental controls on your new video game console — as this will allow you to set up age restrictions, limit playing times, and protect your kids from the many dangers of the online world.
About the Author:
Alyssa Strickland created millennial-parents.com for all the new parents on the block. Alyssa believes the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child, but she also thinks it takes a village to raise a parent! Millennial-Parents is that village. Today’s parents can be more connected than ever and she hopes her site will enrich those connections. On Millennial-Parents, she shares tips and advice she learns through experience and from other young parents in three key areas — Education, Relationships, and Community.