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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

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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.

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  • Thank you for sharing. Need to think about it

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  • Very interesting idea

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  • What a great idea. My eldest daughter is now of a age where she is asking if she can get this game or that game, so this tool will be very helpful

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  • Thank God my son wasn’t a big gamer. He was so not fussed by it. I’m often shocked by friends sons who spend hours playing games in their bedroom, often online and competing with others, supposed friends, etc. So concerned about the safety there.

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  • I don’t have games for my 6 and 9 year old and they are perfectly happy without any of it.

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  • Brilliant. It can be so hard to work out the what, where and how with all of the new technology let alone the software and games that come out. This is such a good idea.

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  • the database sounds like a good idea.

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  • This is so good for parent to know it’s available and makes gaming safer.

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  • My grandson is too young to be playing online games. I’m not sure he’ll ever be old enough, it’s so risky with all the creeps out tgere

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  • Such useful info and such an invaluable resource. Thank you for ssharing. I am so anxious about my kids going online and doing online gaming, so this will definitely help me in the process.

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  • No matter how safe we think we are, there can always be more tips and tricks to ensure privacy and safety, even more.

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  • Some fab tips here

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  • Thanks for sharing this helpful info

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  • Hm interesting. Definitely an interesting topic when my daughter starts gaming and understanding more. Definitely something i need to note

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  • Good to know for when my kids are older and want to start playing these sorts of games.
    Hubby used to be a gamer so he would be more cluey than me when it comes to this stuff.
    Thank you for the tips.

    Reply

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