Here at AskAboutGames, we’ve loads of resources and information to help parents and carers get to grips with the gaming world.
As part of this month’s Must Play May campaign, that celebrates the biggest and best games for every age group, we chatted to award-winning parenting podcasters “Scummy Mummies”, Ellie Gibson and Helen Thorn to find out how they navigate video games with their four children aged between 4 – 10 years.
You can listen to their irreverent but ever so useful Must Play May Parenting podcast, here.
What would Scummy Mummies want parents to know about video games? “Knowing that games have an age rating and understanding how they work is important. Play games yourself then make a decision for your child.”
“Playing games can be a good bonding experience. Which can be great for kids because they can enjoy being better than you at something. We often do things for our kids we don’t want to do — read Postman Pat for the 100th time. Sometimes you need to make yourself do something because they will enjoy it. Games are like that. Give them a go, yourself and you’ll be surprised how much fun they are.”
“I love how games bring fun into important life skills, like turn-taking, teamwork and healthy competition,” said Helen. “Ellie introduced me to Monument Valley which I loved. The strategy behind it, the calming music and the puzzles. And I finished it!”
“Games have changed and broadened out a lot since we were children,” said Ellie. “You can get some really beautiful games with artwork and a slower, more relaxing pace.
“I’m a big fan of Forza Horizon too,” added Helen, “because I can’t drive in real life so I can get the thrill of feeling like I can. And the Lego games are great for creative play with my kids.”
“FIFA is huge in our house”, continued Ellie, “my son gets to feel like the world’s best footballer and plays with his friends without leaving the house. It’s very sociable.
What about the games they play when the kids are in bed? “I love the new God of War,” said Ellie, “It’s a great example of how far games have come. It’s an action game and there is violence but it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The narrative says something about parenting — how it’s difficult and having a child is not just about biological creation and keeping it alive, but about developing a relationship as well.” We can all relate to that!
To help you and your family get most out of video games safely check out these resources:
- All of today’s consoles and handheld devices offer inbuilt parental controls to help families keep track of the games they are playing, and how long they play them for. Setting these up not only offers parents a greater degree of management over online and gaming activity but provides families with an opportunity to agree how and when they will enjoy games. These can be implemented on each system automatically.
Patents' Game Guides
- We've everything you need to know about the latest games. Our experts spent time researching and playing new popular games, to create short videos that outline how to get the most of the games your family plays. From the game ratings to the best settings to stay safe online, in a few minutes our game guides make sure you are fully in the picture.
Top Family Games
- Every week we check the store sales of all the games in the UK, and then compile a list organised by PEGI rating. It's a great way to find out what other families are playing. It's also perfect if you are looking for a great game for a particular age group.
Family Gaming Stories
- A great way to figure out how you want to play games in your family is to see how other parents and carers are doing it. We speak to families of all shapes and sizes to find out what's worked best for them. These family stories are the perfect way to get practical advice on gaming, that's been tried and tested in real homes across the country.
- PEGI Ratings are an amazing resource for families. Not only do they ensure you can make an informed choice about what children play, but they help you find brilliant games of the right rating. The PEGI app is a great way to get information on games while out and about, and the Games Rating Authority website offers the same information at home.
If you've heard the Scummy Mummies podcast or caught them on the radio, here are a great list of games you can try with your children, along with plenty you might enjoy playing yourself.
PEGI 3+ Games
Games suitable for those 3-years-old and over.
PEGI 7+ Games
Great games for children 7-year-olds or over.
PEGI 16+ Games
Great games for older teenagers.
PEGI 18+ Games
Great games for parents to play once the kids are in bed.
For more about how PEGI ratings are decided, here's a video at the Video Standards Council offices seeing what happens:
The PEGI app is a brilliant tool to help you look up game ratings, and find other games to play: