The term “video game” covers a wide range of activities, from playing Solitaire by yourself to playing massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) with entire virtual worlds where players can engage and transact, usually for game improvements or points, but occasionally for real money.

Video games can be played on gaming consoles, computers, laptops, mobile devices, and, increasingly, phones and tablets. While some games may only be played online, others must be downloaded from the internet and installed on devices.

People of all ages like playing video games; older women are more inclined to play simple single-player games than young men are to play “war games.” Generations of players participating in massively multiplayer games range from eight to eighty. While some games are educational, others are horrifyingly violent and have explicit sexual content. However, many games are made to be played with friends or family in the same room, and many of these games are great for families to play and enjoy together.

Games are rated to help parents and kids understand the content of each game.

Video games and computer games are rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). It gives games a rating system analogous to movie ratings so that parents may decide on a game after doing their research.

The ESRB ratings are divided into two categories: 1) Adjectives to help parents understand the criteria that went into the rating score, and 2) symbols to denote the minimum and maximum ages players should be allowed to participate. To use the ESRB rating system successfully, you must consider both factors. Check the rating symbol (on the front of the game box) and the content descriptors (on the back).

Learn about the capabilities and security aspects of gaming devices.

On today’s gaming consoles, family safety options (also known as parental controls) let parents set time limits, prohibit challenging games, and decide whether their children can interact with other gamers, only their pals, or not at all. You can visit A Parent’s Guide to Video Games, Parental Controls, and Online Safety for further information or look for specific configuration instructions on the websites for the gaming consoles.

You can use the built-in family protection features or parental control software that you install yourself to set up the same kinds of restrictions on computers. There are control settings for handheld devices as well. Pay attention to whether you enable Bluetooth connections, which let other people interact with your child using this device.

Remember that the safety settings and controls do not listen in on player conversations if the game is played online and allows for communication. Most remarks will be appropriate, but some people may misbehave. If your child interacts with others, talk to them about the risks of being bullied, deceived, or around overly friendly people (or other grooming behavior). Many online gaming platforms are designed for younger players, and content moderators keep an eye on debates. These might be your best option.