Easy Ways for Parents to Set Limits on Video Games

With more and more video games becoming available, and the number of consoles seeming to double daily, it can be incredibly hard for parents to control just what their child has access to. But, for the benefit of the child, limitations must be set so that the child can learn to enjoy the video games, but more importantly, enjoy the world around him.

There are a few ways to set limitations on video games that are both fair and reasonable, although some children may not agree.

Control the game

Rather than letting the child download a game, borrow a game off a friend, or hire a game that they want to play, take control and do this yourself. This way, you can control what games the child has access to, and can make sure that they are not only appropriate, but suited to the child.

Some games are seriously inappropriate for young children and teens, so to stop them from playing the ‘wrong thing’, either purchase the games yourself, or go with them when they do. Make sure they understand that they can not get a game without your consent, this will help to stop arguments in-store.

Control the game time

Like televisions years ago, game consoles have become a popular ‘electronic babysitter’ to be used by some parents, especially if they need some personal space. In moderation, there is nothing wrong with allowing a child to play a game for half an hour or an hour, but letting the child sit on the game from 9 in the morning until dinnertime, and after dinner until bedtime is not a good idea.

This can bring about video game addiction, and can often result in a socially inept child who struggles fitting back into the real world.

Set a time limit and stick to it. Even go so far as making a note of the time the child is to stop playing and let them know of the exact time. When there is 5 minutes of ‘playing time’ left, remind the child that they have 5 minutes to go before it must be packed up so that they can ‘save’ their game.

Work for the privilege

Rather than just handing over the game for the child to play when he asks, get him to complete a task before he gets to play. This can be something like finishing his homework, cleaning his room, or helping with the dishes. Make the task small, and check up on the child.

Do not say “go clean your room and when you are done you can play the game for an hour” without checking. Children are masters at shortcuts, and if you do not check up on them, you may find that all of those clothes and toys that were all over their floor have been shoved unceremoniously under the bed or in the closet.

Reward good behaviour

If the child consistently plays the game, packs up at the right time, and does not complain about not being able to play when he wants, there is no harm to giving him a little extra time on the game one day. Do not make a habit of this, but reserve it as a reward.


Although it may not be the most exciting thing in the world, paying attention to what your child is doing, what game he is playing, and taking note of his attitude before, during and after game play will mean that you can make adjustments to rectify a situation well before it becomes a big problem.

Children should have the chance to experience playing video games, but there are many more things out in the world that are far better for them than sitting down on a game console, like going outside and playing in the sunshine.