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Video gaming is a popular hobby and among people of different age groups in the United States. Due to proliferation of video games, there is an increased need for parental control. Although most manufacturers subscribe specific age limits for the games, parents do not constantly monitor the video games that their children are playing. In addition, some video games are fitted with parental control features that enable parents control the type and content that their children are exposed to.
According to the Entertainment Software Rating Board, 83% of parents have time limits for their children’s video playing. Therefore, it is imperative that parents monitor the type of video games that their children play. This is because video games can have a positive or a negative impact on the children’s perception of important life issues such as dispute resolution. The following paper explores different genres of games and the parental control that can be associated with these genres of video games.
Video games can be divided into two main categories, which include casual or simple video games and serious video games. Shaffer indicated that casual games are simple to operate and understand. The rules in these video games are easy to grasp and involve simple tasks. Some examples of casual games include Microsoft’s minesweeper and solitaire. There are several advantages associated with casual games. Casual games have no violence thus for children, there is no risk of exposure to violent behavior. In addition, some of these casual games improve problem-solving skills. This is because most of them require the player to find a solution from a series of riddles or possibilities. Therefore, minimal parental supervision is required for this type of games while most parents should encourage children to play such games more.
The next category of video games is serious video games. Some of the video game genres that fall in this category include action- adventure, adventure and simulation games. Some action games contain a combat element. A player has to overcome a series of obstacles including fighting opponents in order to win awards. Usually, the user assumes a “first person” status where they are in a position where they make decisions regarding various issues regarding the virtual environment of the game. Some examples of games in this genre include the “Street Fighter Series”.
Video games in this genre are mainly characterized by violence. This can have a big impact on children’s behavior especially related to problem solving. Violent video game playing led to increased “level of aggression amongst children and adolescents” Bushman & Anderson, 345). In addition, some of these video games include other themes such as drugs and alcohol abuse, foul language and general disrespect for the law. Therefore, it is important for parents to regularly the type of video games that their children are playing. They can use information from the Entertainment Software Rating Board for content rating. Also, they parent’s can monitor the use of the internet by their children. This is because some of these games involve network play where a user can play with other users on the internet without having to download the game’s software.
Adventure games involve solving puzzles in the virtual environment created by the game. The user has to use clues provided in order to win awards and move through the levels. Adventure games have great appeal thus attract even the not so frequent gamers. While earlier adventure games did not have any graphics, modern games have introduced more graphics thus increasing their appeal to various consumers. This genre of video games is characterized by low levels of violence.
This genre of video games has several benefits associated with it. One benefit of adventure games is that they improve an individual’s problem solving skills. Adventure games provide a series of related obstacles and thus a user has to comprehend any relationship existent between the obstacles. Another benefit of adventure games is “most of them are based on real environment” (Hoffman & Nadelson 251). Therefore, they can build on user’s skills. For example, a game whose setting is in the wild can challenge the user to make fire. One can gain knowledge on techniques that one can use to make fire. Such knowledge can be useful where an individual is an actual environment that may need such techniques. Therefore, adventure games can be a source of knowledge for basic skills for children. Parental control associated with adventure is minimal but parents are encouraged to put time limits to playing. This is because such games occupy a lot of the child’s time thus affecting other important school related activities (Skoric, Teo & Neo 570).
Simulation games are mainly “based on construction and management themes” (Schack, 456). A player can assume various roles depending on the main theme of the game. For example, in business simulation video games, players can manage a virtual business. The game involves actual events that take place in real life business setting and thus the player has to be aware of the consequences of his decisions. This genre of video game can also be an important source of knowledge. For business students, playing such a game can enable them apply some of the theoretical knowledge in a “practical” environment. Parents can encourage their children to play this type of games due to benefits indicated above.
From the above analysis, it is clear that some genres of video games require much more parental control than others. Most studies generalize video gaming but do not provide a breakdown of the genre. Research into benefits and drawbacks associated with different genres of video games should be done. This can be important source of information and children alike. One of the most effective parental control measures is “playing the video games with children” (Chambers 71). According to the Entertainment Software Rating Board, only 48% of parents spend time playing games with their children. Playing video games with the children enables parents observe material that their children are exposed to in various genres of video games.