The Official Net Nanny Blog

Setting Boundaries for Tech Addicted Kids (and Parents)

Like most parents, I struggle with setting boundaries with technology that my family will respect. Before setting boundaries, though, it’s important to understand why our kids are on their devices so much. Unfortunately, the truth is that we, as parents, are partly responsible

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Over the last month or so, we have seen a law in California about selling violent video games to minors being upheld as unconstitutional, as well as a veto by Gov. Hunstman of Utah Bill H.B. 353, which also sought to regulate the sale of violent games to minors. The defeat of these attempted measures has clearly left parents with the responsibility to be involved in their childrens video game purchases and playing.

In both of these cases, the voluntary rating system established by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) was pointed to as a system that is already in place that helps retailers, parents and kids understand what content is found in a particular video game and why the rating has been applied to these games. Nearly 100% of video games sold through retailers today has the ESRB rating clearly printed on the packaging. Responsible parents should learn to use these ratings in the same way they have for movies using the voluntary movie ratings system.

Besides the well known ESRB ratings like E for Everyone, T for Teen, M for Mature, the ESRB goes into greater detail about the content found in the game by using 'Content Descriptors'. Here is a look at what categories these fall into:

Video Game Legislation Defeated in California and Utah

Over the last month or so, we have seen a law in California about selling violent video games to minors being upheld as unconstitutional, as well as a veto by Gov.

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As a video game enthusiast I often find myself looking out for and playing the latest video games.  Yes, I played with Atari, ‘Old-School Nintendo’, and of course the modern gaming systems like Xbox, Wii and PS3.  I am often asked by parents if a specific game is appropriate for their kids or if it’s something they can play and enjoy as a family.  My candid response is usually, “Do you know what ESRB or PEGI is?  I continue to explain that almost all games are rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board ( ESRB ) or for my European friends the Pan European Game Information (PEGI).  These ratings are usually coupled with information about the game's content.

Learn more about ESRB
Learn more about PEGI

 So, if you haven’t followed the links above to learn more about ESRB and PEGI, you should do that now…I’ll wait…  Now that you’ve done that, I wanted to provide a few tips and suggestions for parents that didn’t spend 12 hours a day playing video games as a kid; it may even help for those that did.  Kids are resourceful, they will get their hands on the games that you don’t want them to play and they will play them all day while you’re at work and all night when you’re sleeping.     

Whether it’s a PC game, Xbox game, Wii game, or PlayStation game, you should know that you can actually limit how often they play, and control the types of games your kids play on these systems.  Aside from good parenting, many of these video game consoles (Xbox, PS3, Wii) have built-in parental controls you can use.  That's usually the hard part, you just have to try and figure out how to use them.  See the links below for more info on those. But the good news is for PC Games you only need to install parental control software.  Coincidentally, Net Nanny 6.0 now gives parents the ability to manage the types of PC Games your kids can play.   So you should be set!  Now you just have to figure out what to do when Johnny goes over to Billy’s house.  

Here are those links I promised:
Xbox 360 Parental controls
PlayStation 3 Parental controls 
Nintendo Wii Parental controls

Video Games Today. Grand Theft What?

As a video game enthusiast I often find myself looking out for and playing the latest video games.

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