Children can easily explore the world. Games can promote skills and competencies as well as opportunities for expression and often also offer adolescents the opportunity to build fantasy worlds. Playing is usually valuable, motivating and more than a useless pastime, it is an important factor for the development of the child, it is fun, brings variety to everyday life and often also experiences of success.
Digital games are often an integral part of the lives of children and young people today – be it digital games on the computer, on consoles, as online games or as an app. It is important to have information about age-appropriate digital games and a differentiated debate based on the interests and experiences of adolescents.
There are also clear differences between the generations (generation gap) in the assessment of games, but also among gamers who play a lot and who play little or not (Ludic Gap). Most discussions are based on opinions rather than substantive knowledge and personal experience. It is important to encourage children and adolescents to use digital games confidently and to help them identify risks and raise their awareness of different problems. A media-competent handling of digital games and online worlds, with which they are sometimes linked, requires critical, creative and sensitive thinking – the ability to reflect, engage in dialogue and act. Of course, this also applies to all adults.
Especially in connection with computer and video games, ethical and moral issues are discussed in many and quite controversial ways. The debate on violence in digital games in particular raises questions about how we should deal with the representation of violence. What attitude do we have towards war, destruction and violence? But there are also questions about stereotypical role models in digital games and morally questionable content.
Depending on their age and interests, children and teenagers play very different types of games: action games, shooters, adventure and role-playing games, education & infotainment, platforming & fun games, simultaneous & strategy games, sports and racing games, board games, browser games….. The fascination that digital games have on them often comes from the fact that they follow clear structures and rules here, make independent decisions and experience exciting adventures. The task is to overcome threats and achieve goals. Therefore, the best prevention for computer game addiction is to offer adolescents in reality structure and clarity on the one hand, and challenges and opportunities for independent decisions on the other hand.
- Are you interested in which computer games adolescents spend their time with?
- Play with the kids to learn about the games.
- Pay attention to age-appropriate games (marked with PG or USK symbols according to the youth protection law)
- Offer your children alternatives to digital games if playing takes too much time. Search together for interesting and exciting (outdoor) activities.
- Agree on common rules.
- Raise awareness among adolescents about the sharing of personal information when using online games.
- Pay attention to times of use.
- Question your own media habits and be a role model.
- Pay attention to the risks of online acquaintances (chat, internet rip off, risk of viruses during data transmission, data protection, …).
- Do not use games as an educational tool.