What to ask your child when they want to download a new video game - Klikd

What to ask your child when they want to download a new video game

We are all time-poor parents. We struggle to keep up with what is happening on Google Classroom, let alone this month’s favourite Xbox/PlayStation fix.

Worry not – it’s our job at KLIKD to bring you the lowdown on what’s hot and what’s not. But today, we thought today we would share what it is that we as parents can think about AND ASK next time our favourite short person says “Mom/ Dad, please can I download_________ [insert unheard of video game here]

Because a default yes or no doesn’t build connection (from us to them) or honesty (from them to us) if we just ask “Is it safe?” it just makes for underground contraband being played at someone else’s house.

So instead, ask:

1. “WHAT MAKES IT SO DARN ENJOYABLE?”

Is it the connection with friends (on Discord), is it the creativity, is it a sense of construction and then completion? And even, is it the violence- the feeling that comes with destruction that has no real consequence? Maybe it’s the chance of meeting someone new or learning some new gaming skills? Ask with an open heart.

2. “HOW MUCH DOES IT REALLY COST?”

Even if the download is free, games always come with hidden costs – think skins, Vbucks, texture packs, additional Minecraft worlds, minecoins, armour sets, exotic ships, Robux, minemaps,…the list is endless. Help your screenager to understand that ‘free’ can often mean ‘hook you in to pay later.’

3. “HOW LONG DOES EACH GAME/ROUND LAST?”

Critical to saying yes or no is the amount of time your child will end up in front of the screen. All video games are designed to be addictive so contract up front that if it’s a ‘yes’, they can play, for example two 20-minute games a day during the week and four on weekends. If they can’t stick to it, they lose the privilege. No power struggle. Just fact.

4. “IF YOU DIE IN A GAME, WHERE DO YOU HANG OUT ONLINE WHILE YOU WAITING FOR EVERYONE TO FINISH?”

This is a vital question! Kids typically hang out in what is known as landing pads and this is where a huge amount of ‘connecting’, read grooming happens -a post for another day.

5. “HAVE YOU CHECKED THE REVIEWS/RATINGS?”

Instead of only checking the reviews yourself, ask your child what they can tell you about them and whether they agree or disagree with the rating. This shows maturity and allows for a good chat.

6. “WHO ELSE IS GOING TO BE ONLINE PLAYING WITH YOU?”

No matter what they tell you, it often won’t just be their friends. When your child is starting out in the online world, it is non-negotiable that video gaming is limited to REAL friends they ACTUALLY know in the real world.

7. “WHAT IS THE STORYLINE/ PLOT? “

This way your child gets to show if they really have an interest in the game, can identify the moral underpinning in the game (good versus evil, saving the universe from self destruction etc) and of course they actually get to practice articulating themselves😅 – using words is an important teen skill.

So when your little one next asks for a download of a game, our hope is not just to ensure that you keep up on what the game is about, (we will make that the easy part for you) but that you begin to have the chats that allow you to get a real sense of how much your child really knows about what they asking for – and that’s where the real answers lie – in the gold that comes with the conversation.

For a deeper dive

The Klikd App has an entire module called “Creep or Keep” teaching our kids in real ways how to check whether the people you are gaming with online are, in fact who they say they are. Sadly, so often they are not. From interviews with real teens, to card games to case simulations (based on real teen stories), this spares you the lecture of “Don’t talk to strangers online” and makes sure your screenagers can actually hear the message loud and clear. Sign up today!

Stay connected

Sarah and Pam

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