When it comes to gaming and school children there is a fine balance between encouraging and discouraging or even banning the use of games consoles or internet-based games.

Deciding what games your child should be playing is a difficult choice to make as there are several factors to consider for both you and them. Age-related games with a legal requirement to only sell to that age group or above is usually due to violence, bad language or inappropriate sexual content, so it is always best to only allow your child or teen to play age-related games.

This then brings in peer pressure for teenagers as many of their friends may be ‘allowed’ to play games unsuitable for their age group. Your child may feel ostracised by their friends and this can be difficult for parents who want to instil boundaries.

When you decide on purchasing a console for your child, a conversation should be had to ensure they understand the age restrictions and for them to be in agreement. Then when conflicts arise regarding age-related games, you can remind them of the conversation and the need to follow the rules.

It is also wise to play the games yourself, so you understand the content and can show interest in your child’s/teenagers interests. For gaming which is internet-based, they may require subscriptions which an adult has to pay for. It is strongly advised to research the game in question, review its contents yourself and speak to other parents of children/teenagers using the software to ensure you are happy to allow your child to download and play the game concerned.

Some games offer children a way to relax and have some stress free alone time, which is good, as long as the gaming sessions are short in length and not interfering with their education