Whether your kids play video games on their tablet or a gaming console like the Nintendo Switch, kids love video games. While many great benefits to kids playing video games, too much screen time can be problematic. Utilizing parental controls on devices is a great way to manage screen time, but it’s also essential to teach responsible video game use.
Monitoring screen time for younger children is pretty simple; using built-in parental controls will typically do the trick. However, tweens and teens need a little more guidance and structure. Using a video game contract helps establish written rules about when they can play, how long they can play, and what content kids can access on their devices. It also puts responsibility and control in the hands of the child.
How to Manage Video Game Time for Older Kids
Creating a Video Game Contract establishes basic rules for kids to follow.
1. Earn your Video Game Time
Before you can play on a device, you have to do all of your daily responsibilities. (Eat breakfast, get dressed, do chores, go to school, etc… after all your responsibilities are taken care of you can play on a device.)
2. Set Time Limits
We typically allow our children to play for a max of 1 hour, and then they must find something else to do. Play outside. Read a book. Create something.
3. Set Aside Screen Free Days
Perhaps on school days, children have little to no screen time. Or maybe they can only play on their video game console on weekends or holidays.
4. Set Downtime
Maybe all screens are off between 8 pm and 8 am. Setting specific times when kids know that it’s not even an option helps prevent conflict.
Children need to know precisely what is expected and the consequences beforehand.
Download the Free Screen Time Contract
Maybe your Video Game Contact will look similar to ours, or perhaps you want to use this one as a guideline to create your own. Your rules must work for your family.