So you got your kids an Xbox or a Playstation this year? You watched the mirth and surprise on your kid’s faces as they discovered their wishes had come true as they tore open their presents. Now that you have cleaned up the wrapping paper and they have unboxed their gaming console… it’s time to play.
But, hold up. In all the excitement of the holidays and the immediacy of wanting to use these new toys, it can be hard to set boundaries and rules. Before the kids take over control of the Playstation, before they start playing Fortnite on Xbox or challenging one another to Mario Kart battles on Nintendo, take a moment to learn how the gaming consoles work and establish household rules around gaming.
It’s easy to slack on this because it’s the holidays and everyone is on holiday, but by establishing boundaries early you will ensure that conflict and battles are words you use to describe a game and not your family fights.
Learn how the console works
It’s important that you get to know how to use the new gaming console. It’s often claimed that kids are more tech savvy than adults. Instead of relying on your kids to setup the console or teach you how to use it their way, take some time to read the instructions and setup information while watching videos about how the console works.
There are some great resources online via each manufacturer’s website:
And, don’t let your kids get impatient about how long it takes you to do a walkthrough and setup. Gaming consoles are for household use and it’s important for parents to integrate them into the household routine. But, don’t forget you can learn a thing or two from watching your kids use the device.
Watch how your kids use it
This is probably not the first time your kids will be interfacing with a gaming console. It’s likely they have friends who own one or they know the basics from having played with computers and tablets growing up.
Once you setup the device, watch how they use the machine and the controls. By asking them questions and having them show you how they do it, you not only enable them to feel part of the setup process, but you show that you respect their knowledge and can learn from them as well. This will help them feel part of the process when you implement parental controls and household rules.
By including them in the process, you learn more and you help set expectations and ease everyone into the responsibilities they have now that you own a gaming console.
Set parental controls
All consoles need to have certain limitations in place for kids. Each individual household will have their own rules, but it’s important that you utilise the features that the consoles give you to make your job and life easier. Parental control features can be very hard to use, so we recommend you check out the videos and instructions each console provides for their specific system.
The main use for parental controls are for high level control on who can make purchases, access to games, movies, and web content, and creating different household accounts. Use these as resources for setting parental controls:
Remember to create an account specific for parents which will be the main household account and is the sole account that can make changes to parental controls and purchasing. Use a strong password on this account. Parental controls are not infallible and kids have found many ways to get around them, so be diligent and don’t solely rely on parental controls to monitor your child’s gaming.
Set household rules
It’s easy to get lax around the holidays. Routines are usually neglected with bedtime being extended and sleeping late is enjoyed by everyone. Despite routines being out of sync, it’s still important to set rules once you have the gaming console ready, so you can avoid big battles in the future.
Don’t put this off. Every household will have its unique set of rules, but these are recommended to start.
At QTIME, we know that this is one of the most important rule you can set as a parent. Having a daily allotted amount of time for gaming is key to maintaining a healthy and balanced life with focus on school, family and friends being prioritised. According to the World Health Organization, kids should not be allowed to play games for more than two hours a day. If your kids can’t play by the rules, consider getting a QTIME to set time limits on your Xbox or Playstation.
If you have more than one child, sharing anything can be a challenge and sharing a gaming console can lead to huge battles. In the best case scenario, your kids may love playing the same games and those games are dual player. But, if your kids each have their own agenda for using the Xbox or Playstation, create a household schedule that gives equal time to each child to play. You may have to decide on a daily rotation for gaming to keep screen time limits balanced. Work with your kids to create a functional household schedule.
Games and App Restrictions
The UK has a game ratings system, known as PEGI, in place for parents to use when deciding if a game is right for their family. This rating system gives parents guidance on how old kids should be before playing the game and tells you what genre of game it is. Remember, not all games are first person shooters or fantasy. There are great educational and puzzle games out there which are fun, engaging, educational and entertaining.
One of the best ways to know what rules and time limits work, what are the right kind of games for your kids, and to just spend family time together is to play games together. See what all the excitement is about. Having an Xbox or a Playstation should be good experience for everyone.
QTIME is here to help
If your kids can’t stop playing games and the battles seem endless, invest in a product like QTIME, which will help you set and easily maintain gaming time limits in your household
Using the QTIME mobile app you can easily measure your child’s game play activity and limit it, making changes to time limits or simply turning off the Xbox or PS4 when you aren’t home. If your child tries to unplug the device, you’ll know immediately via email and an App notification. It’s that simple and can help save you so much time and headaches.