There is an internet meme with the caption, “Dad, of course I finished my homework, cleaned my room, and took a bath while only being told once to do so by mom, before playing my video games.”… Said no kid ever!
While this is funny, it is also true and highlights a fundamental problem that frequently occurs when parents get their kid a game console. The child gets so involved in the games that they get addicted to it.
It’s not the child’s fault because the games are designed to be interesting, challenging and fun. Getting to the next level in the games becomes an obsession. This is similar to a gambler looking for his or her next win. The lack of impulse control can lead to several not-so-fun consequences.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of kids who can’t tear themselves away from the games. Whiling away hours on end without eating and sleeping. Dropping grades, moody personalities, rude behavior and other symptoms are common when the child gets too hooked on these games.
In almost all cases, the fault often lies with the parent for not setting boundaries and limits right from the very beginning. The key to preventing your child from becoming a video game addict is to set reasonable limits and not back down despite their woeful pleas.
There is also the possibility that your child may access games, videos and other media that is too mature for their age group. There are many games that are far too violent and contain sexual material. If your son is only 9, you definitely don’t want him looking for these games, despite what his friends may say.
Thankfully, the geniuses behind PS4 have made your job a breeze by having a wide range of robust parental controls for you. All you need to do is use these controls to regulate your child’s gaming habits and control the types of content they can access.
To get started, you will need to ensure that the parent has a master account and the minor has a sub account. The master account will decide what the sub account can and cannot access. You can setup different sub accounts for each child, if you have more than one. Each sub account can have different rules so that the older kids have more leeway.
The master account will have one passcode and the parental controls will have one passcode. This will prevent other uses from logging into your account and making changes. You may be surprised at how technology savvy youngsters are these days.
With these controls, you will be able to restrict games, movies and applications that come with age ratings. Internet browsing can also be disabled. You can set spending limits in the PlayStation store. The feature which allows you to disable text, video and voice chat messages will prevent your children from coming into contact with any creepy people who lurk on the internet.
As for limiting the amount of time the child spends on gaming, you will have to do it firmly. There is no other way. Give them a time limit before they start playing and set a timer to go off once they are done. Make sure they finish all their chores and homework before they start on their games. A child who has been forced to stop playing is not going to be in a happy mood to do chores or homework.
If your child is in the middle of a game, get them to save it. Problem solved. It would be a good idea to place the PS4 console in a place where you can observe it. You don’t want your child slowly sneaking off to his or her room and playing away without your knowledge.
If you setup the controls correctly and you stand firm, your child will enjoy the benefits of playing a PS4 and not end up becoming addicted to the games.