Concerns about video games include the time children and teens spend playing them, the physical effects of an inactive lifestyle, and the violent or sexist content of many games. Playing video games can be a positive experience if we understand the issues involved, choose games wisely and control screen time.
In this lesson, students explore the issues surrounding violent video games. The lesson begins with a review of the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s rating codes for video and computer games, and a class discussion about the appropriateness of these ratings for children and teens.
The recently released Pew Report Teens, Video Games and Civicshas revived the question about whether video games can be a worthwhile activity. Another recent entry in this debate is Jim Rossignol’s This Gaming Life, a survey of computer gaming culture and a chronicle of its role in the author’s life.
Third entry in a series looks at sites that help users create content. In the last instalment of this series we looked at some of examples of user-created media such as mashups, fan movies and machinima.
Video and computer games have become a basic part of kids’ lives: nearly all youth play electronic games at least occasionally. Many parents, though, feel they don’t know enough about the games their children are playing, and worry about the role gaming plays in their children’s lives. Fortunately, there are steps parents can take to make sure that video games are a healthy part of their kids’ lives, and a fun part of family life as well.
It’s important to know what the ratings mean on the video games your children play. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is an industry organization that has developed a rating system for computer, Internet and video games. Most games sold in North America are rated using this system.
The best way to manage games in the home is to get involved in what your kids are playing. Your kids will be much more likely to follow your advice if you show them you are genuinely interested in their games.
The video game sector is the fastest growing entertainment industry and second only to music in profitability. Global sales of video game software hit almost $17 billion U.S. in 2011. 
Digital media such as the Internet and video games have become increasingly important in the lives of children and youth. Even when young people are consuming other media, such as TV, music and movies, they are likely to be doing it through the Internet. As well, nearly all the media they consume, from TV shows to toys, have Web pages, virtual worlds, video games or other digital spinoffs associated with them.
Throughout the elementary years, parents are the main gatekeepers for their children. As such, they need to be actively involved in their children’s video game playing – selecting the games, managing how much time children spend playing, and talking to them about the values in the games they like.