What exactly does the term “video game” imply?

The phrase “video game” refers to everything from a solo game of Solitaire to massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) with entire virtual planets where players interact with one another and transactions — generally points or game enhancements, but sometimes real money – are made.

Computers and laptops, mobile devices, gaming consoles, and, increasingly, phones and tablets are used to play video games. Some games are bought and installed on devices, while others are downloaded from the internet and only played online.

Video games are popular among people of all ages: older women are the most likely to play simple single-player games, while young men are the most likely to play “war games.” Users ranging in age from eight to eighty play the massively multiplayer games. Some games are instructional, while others are gruesomely violent and contain graphic sexual content. Many games, however, are designed to be played in the same room with friends or family, and many of these games are a terrific way for families to engage and spend time together.

Learn about gaming gadgets’ capabilities and safety features.

Family safety settings (also known as parental controls) are available on today’s gaming consoles, allowing parents to set time limits, ban problematic games, and select whether players can connect with only their friends, any other gamer, or not at all. Specific instructions for establishing these settings can be found on the game console’s websites, or you can go to A Parent’s Guide to Video Games, Parental Controls, and Online Safety for more information.

To set the same types of limits on computers, you can use the built-in family protection tools or parental control software that you install yourself. Handheld devices have control options as well, and one to pay attention to is whether you allow Bluetooth connections, which allow others to engage with your child via this gadget.

Keep in mind that if the game is played online and allows players to interact, the safety settings and controls do not monitor the talks that occur within the game. While the majority of talks will be appropriate, some people may choose to act inappropriately. If your child interacts with others, explain to them about the dangers of bullying, cheaters, and individuals who are overly pleasant (or other grooming behavior). For younger children, there are a variety of online gaming sites that are specifically geared for children, with content moderators monitoring discussions. These might be the best choice for you.