As a mum of two gaming kids and a journalist who loves to research, I like to think I’m on top of children’s gaming safety. And you might be in the same boat – but it never hurts to have an extra weapon in your arsenal.
And there’s a new tool available to us as Aussie parents to help inform our decisions around which video games we allow our kids to play. And you can use it right now.
How to safely choose video games for kids
The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association has recently partnered with the Family Video Game Database to give parents an incredibly powerful tool to help guide our children’s choice of video games.
The Family Video Game Database is an independent website that gives easy-to-understand information about games. And now, it includes Australian classification rating for popular video games.
Its founder, UK-based journalist Andy Robertson says he wanted to create a resource for parents with jargon-free, helpful information which is perfect for time-poor parents.
“Each game page is designed just for parents with the crucial information foregrounded,” Andy told Mouths of Mums. “Like this page about Fortnite. Within a minute you will have all the info, have seen what the game looks like and be able to make an informed decision. This covers Australian age ratings, in-game purchases, how much time it takes up, who you can play with, costs and what tech you need to play.
“The site also has various categories that parents can use to access the games they want for their children, or even themselves! You can perform a wide range of searches, such as looking for PC games for the Nintendo Switch, mature games and younger for a specific platform, mature games in puzzle genres, general games for 2+; the list goes on! We also have prebuilt lists readily available on the site such as games for specific ages, mental health, education, and more.”
How to use Family Video Database
A huge amount of work goes into compiling the information on each game, looking at criteria like suitability by age group, educational theme, and even health concerns. It currently has 1600 games covered on the site, with more added regularly.
And while Andy obviously recommends parents get active on the site to research what games their kids are playing, or want to play, he also suggests other ways to keep an eye on kids’ tech time.
“Understanding and using parental controls, as well as monitoring the time spent gaming helps keep kids safe while gaming. The site also helps give you a rundown on games, so you have a general idea of what to expect, but the key suggestion we give to parents is to get involved and play games too.
On the database, we have a list of games designed for parents and guardians to play (who haven’t ever played a game themselves). This Your First Game list offers short experiences you can play on your smartphone or computer. They are about things that are of interest to adults, are easy to play, and offer an amazing first step into this world of gaming. Parents who take this step, as I suggest in my Taming Gaming book, report how it totally changes the conversation about games in the home. It means they can guide their child to healthy play as an insider, rather than policing or protecting as an outsider.”
As a mum who plays Fortnite with my kids, I can totally vouch for this advice. Take an interest in what your kids are playing, and they’re more likely to be open with you about their gaming habits.We may get commissions for purchases made using links in this post. Learn more.