7 On Your Side, Consumer Reports tips for parents to make video games an educational experience for kids

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Kids spend a lot of time playing video games, and parents spend a lot of time worrying about how much time their kid plays video games. (KGO-TV)

Kids spend a lot of time playing video games, and parents spend a lot of time worrying about how much time their kid plays video games.

Rather than constantly telling your child to put their tablet down, in a partnership with Consumer Reports, 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney says get in the game, and use it as a way to power up communication.

7-year-old Brynn Davis would like to teach her mom how to play her favorite video game.

"So she can play a game with me, and we could have lots of fun," she said.

She is onto something.

Bree Fowler, Consumer Reports Electronics Editor, says rather than try to pull the plug on your kid's interest in gaming, she suggests,
"maybe sit down and play with them like you play a board game or play catch outside," said Fowler.

She says parents often get hung up on whether a game is "educational." But many games can be used to teach valuable lessons.

"Specially the role playing games are all about problem solving and about making decisions," explains Fowler.

Arizona State University's Center for Games and Impact agrees, claiming well-crafted video games foster "critical skills necessary for navigating an interconnected, rapidly changing 21st Century world."

Alayna Davis, a mother, finds this to be true. She says the games her kids play are interactive, allowing them to play with each other or play with their friends remotely.

"You're still reaching out and forming relationships through those games as well," said Davis.

With a new baby, she does not get to play along much, but she does keep a close eye, asking questions along the way.

"It sparks the conversation that can lead into more, you know, just communication with your kids," shared Davis.

"You can ask questions about why does the character go there, why is it important to pick up these power-ups," noted Fowler. "Kids love to explain, they love to teach, and they love to feel like you respect them as an intelligent person."

Of course even if you are playing with your kids, you still want to monitor the amount of screen time they're getting, and make sure the content is age appropriate.

Related Topics:
entertainmentconsumer reports7 On Your Sidevideo gamechildrenelectronicsgameseducationconsumerconsumer concernsSan Francisco
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