Mumsnet users share their thoughts about kids and online gaming with Nintendo

(138 Posts)
LibbyMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 09-Nov-20 13:32:48

This sponsored discussion is now closed

This year, kids are spending more time online for everything from education to catching up with friends. Now that most of the UK is in a second national lockdown, online gaming is set to become more popular. With this in mind, Nintendo would like to hear your thoughts on the benefits of online gaming, and any concerns you have.

Here’s what Nintendo has to say: “Keeping an eye on screen time, ensuring your child is playing games appropriate for their age and only with friends that they know are all challenges that parents face in the modern world. That’s why Nintendo created the Nintendo Parental Controls app, a mobile app that links to the Nintendo Switch and helps you manage and control these at your fingertips. Giving you peace of mind so you can spend less time worrying and more time having fun.”

Are you worried your child is playing video games too much? Or perhaps you're concerned about the types of games they’re playing? Maybe you have thoughts on how to encourage them to do other things if they’ve been playing for a while? Could online gaming offer some benefits for children at a time of social isolation? Maybe you enjoy playing with them and consider it an opportunity to bond as a family?

Share your thoughts on the thread below to be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £100 voucher for the store of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck!


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OP’s posts: |
jacqui5366 Wed 11-Nov-20 11:10:36

Are you worried your child is playing video games too much?

No, we have set times for playing games,

Or perhaps you're concerned about the types of games they’re playing?

I worry about how addictive the games can become and how frustrated they can get if they cannot get to 'the next level' or win the race

Maybe you have thoughts on how to encourage them to do other things if they’ve been playing for a while?

I like to watch them play, and the joy in their faces, but know when it's time to put the console down and go outdoors or 'help 'me in the kitchen

Could online gaming offer some benefits for children at a time of social isolation?

It has certainly been a great way of connecting with friends during lockdown, so that's been a massive positive, being able to talk and play against their close friends has kept a bond there.

Maybe you enjoy playing with them and consider it an opportunity to bond as a family?

Yes particularly the multi-player games - we loved the Wii back in the day - bowling was a Sunday favourite - even Granny played.

Natah Wed 11-Nov-20 11:16:21

I definitely worry about my boy playing video games too much - because of the screen time and the safety aspect. Anything brands (like Nintendo) can do to try to keep them safer and limit the use is great with me.

Mintjulia Wed 11-Nov-20 11:24:42

My DS(12) uses gaming (Minecraft, Terraria, Roblox) as escapism, to relax and I'm happy for him to do that after homework is done. and up until 9pm.

He plays on a laptop for which I have admin rights. He isn't interested in social media and I don't allow games like Fortnight that are over his age group.

I don't get too stressed about the number of hours in total, we are living in difficult times and leisure activities are so limited.

Pre-lockdown he did two sports session a weekend, now reduced to cycling and Zoom karate.

ohdannyboy Wed 11-Nov-20 13:05:38

I am worried about peer pressure from the games DS1 and 2 play from their school friends, some of the 11 and 12 year olds are playing games for 18 year olds (the Black Ops ones) and I am being constantly asked to buy the games. IMO parents should be aware of the graphic content of the games and stick to the age limits.
On the other hand games can be a great distraction, when times are difficult, you can keep in touch with friends and family on multi player games, and its a great to see them happy and laughing when playing.

A new game (or a second hand version from Ebay) is also a great reward for good behaviour and doing well at school.

Hopezibah Wed 11-Nov-20 21:03:01

I think there are lots of benefits to gaming. My son's teacher at school made me see things differently when he said it's good to build up a "gaming CV" if you're interested in going into the gaming industry and that it is a growing industry. So I try to see it a lot more positively now.

BUT my kids do spend more time than I would like on gaming and attempts to cut down on gaming (especially through lockdown when we've all been worried and stressed) is hard. I think games are made to be too addictive these days and that is a shame.

There have been collaborative / social opportunities where my kids have been able to stay in contact with their friends while isolating so that is good.

I would like to see the gaming industry do more to promote "Healthy balance" in gaming and offer support to those who do become truly addicted as I believe it is possible especially in certain kids - my ASD son in particular struggles to stop the games and it triggers meltdowns when we try to get him to stop.

ConquestEmpireHungerPlague Thu 12-Nov-20 00:42:46

I really hate the amount of gaming that's considered normal. At best, I consider it an extremely passive activity, and at worst addictive and harmful to neurocircuitry. When they were younger, computer and console use was strictly limited and I was very watchful of what sort of games they played - no GFA type shit and no Fortnite. Now they're teenagers/young adults they self-regulate largely and the habits we tried to instil seem to have stuck. They mainly enjoy creative stuff like Minecraft or Stellaris or problem solving games. I still find it terribly banal though, I must say. Fortunately they all have other interests and pastimes. Everyone needs a bit of switching off time, I guess.


foxesandsquirrels Thu 12-Nov-20 00:55:46

Honestly it's not the amount of time kids spend but the types of games they play that scares me. There were kids in my son's Y4 class already playing 18+ games. This is scarily common and frightening to the point where he felt left out because I wouldn't let him at COD or GTA. If not 18+ than things like Fortnite that just promote violence even more.
I love video games and actually think strategic games are great for kids, I learnt lots about problem solving and determination through them, it just creeps me out how many 8 year olds know about sex, drugs, gangs and porn because of access to games completely unsuitable for anyone, let alone a child.

Kijaji Thu 12-Nov-20 02:09:34

My 14 year old does spend a lot of time on his Xbox (I make sure he does his chores/homework first) but so does his friends, as soon as he gets in from school they are texting him to play, I make him turn it off when dinner is ready and it doesn't go back on but a lot of his friends are on it till early hours of the morning which I really don't agree with.

Chezybabes891401 Thu 12-Nov-20 11:17:12

Can i just start by mentioning until i seen this post i had no idea there was an app for this purpose so can i just say " Thank you so much!!"
My partner and I have purchased a switch for our 5 year old daughters Christmas, she currently plays Roblox and we allow her 1 hour per day where me or her dad sits with her as she plays it. We wanted something that was more of a games console than an online games community.
We decided on the switch as there are more age appropriate games for her and the whole family to enjoy.
Our main concern was the internet connection and the worry that she could get messages through and we weren't sure we could block them.

Now i have downloaded your app i'm pleasantly surprised that we have total control over what content she can view, games she can play etc.
We can now take it with us in the car on our travels ( after lockdown ) and not worry about her playing or reading something inappropriate.

voyager50 Thu 12-Nov-20 12:28:29

He does play with his Nintendo Switch far too much, but with his autism, it is part of his routine and it keeps him engaged for hours. He also plays the piano, reads and does a lot of arts and crafts, trampolining etc so as long as he doesn't only play video games I am not worried.

purplepandas Thu 12-Nov-20 21:07:46

I am not keen on how much one of my daughters spends on her tablet but we have an app that we can see what she looks at and monitors time (with a cut off).

Sid98 Fri 13-Nov-20 05:04:34

My kids dont game much

flowersanam Fri 13-Nov-20 05:13:20

My children like to watch videos and they dont game

Sleepybumble Fri 13-Nov-20 10:32:50

Online security really concerns me. I feel that it's the most important part of any computer/online community. Also I want DD to feel confident to make good choices online and to come straight to us with any concerns.

NativityDreaming Fri 13-Nov-20 14:01:40

Are you worried your child is playing video games too much?
Or perhaps you're concerned about the types of games they’re playing

I worry that my youngest gets too involved in it even though I restrict his time playing it (not every day, no more than one hour at a time.) Just last night he came out of bed really upset at something he did in one of his Minecraft worlds.

Maybe you have thoughts on how to encourage them to do other things if they’ve been playing for a while?

My sons need to earn time on our console. This can be by cleaning their room, doing other chores, doing a litter pick in the park, etc.

Could online gaming offer some benefits for children at a time of social isolation?

Definitely, it has provided joy to my children in an otherwise pretty difficult year.

Maybe you enjoy playing with them and consider it an opportunity to bond as a family?

No! I really hate gaming but I can see it benefits my children as long as it is limited

fishnships Fri 13-Nov-20 18:43:54

Not keen on gaming as I see it as potentially addictive and possibly violent, although I have been glad that DS and DD have something to occupy themselves during lockdown, and they do enjoy gaming. I wonder what peoples finger and thumb joints will be like in later life as a result of all this repetitive pressing of buttons. Arthritis?

AveEldon Fri 13-Nov-20 20:53:02

Gaming is definitely better than watching dross content on youtube

SmileyShazza Fri 13-Nov-20 21:46:49

Our 9 year and old and 6 year old play games on their tablets and on the family X Box. I personally prefer them to play games which are viewed on the TV as I find its easier for me to keep a track on what they are actually playing as I can see and hear whats going on. I feel like I have less control on games played on their tablets so have to constantly check that they are not going into inappropriate rooms (especially on Roblox)

We do not allow fighting games or violent games. It worries me how many of my sons friends play Fortnite despite only being 8 or 9 years old, I don't really think that is appropriate content for a cild of that age. Luckily our son generally tends to enjoy driving games and isn't even interested in playing Fortnite or games of that genre.

We limit the amount of time they spend playing computer games and we have everything locked down so they cannot receive or send messages to anyone online and they cannot talk to anyone in person whilst using the X Box. My husband uses a special program/app called X Box family which helps with parental controls over what your children have whilst using the console.

A lot of the games our children play are educational or puzzle based which teach good problem solving skills. We like games where they can play together as well rather than playing against random strangers on the internet.

lovemyflipflops Sat 14-Nov-20 10:05:37

I think video games have their good and bad side, I am happy for DS to play video games as I find they relax him, make him happy and ht can interact with his school friends - it's lovely to see him laughing with his school friends, especially during the first lockdown - when being away from his friends would have been much harder.
I would think differently if the games were shooting and fighting - the GTA types - I would not condone them.
We have had many a good night on the Wii playing bowling and mario karts - best memories. Gaming is not all bad.

HomerRoberts Sat 14-Nov-20 10:22:19

Access to online gaming was a real lifeline during lockdown, as it allowed my DS to connect with his friends in virtual worlds and keep some social interaction going. The downside of this was that I think it negatively affected development of real world social skills . The first time my DS saw his friends in person after lockdown, he actually said he found it hard that he couldn’t just “switch off” in the same way he would easily be able to leave a digital interaction. Thankfully this only seemed to be a temporary thing, but it was really saddening at the time.

Games with digital currency like robux (Roblox) and v bucks (Fortnite), which basically promote spending money on ‘nothing’ are the work of the devil IMO and are the epitome of irresponsible features on games largely aimed at and used by children.

mummyuk86 Sat 14-Nov-20 21:15:46

We set timers for screen time so our boys don't play too long. That works well. I can see positives to playing computer games such as getting familiar with using computers and improving hand eye co-ordination.

I'm definitely concerned about what types of games they play. We lock down as much as possible so we know what content they have access to.

We regularly play the wii as a family, olympic games which is great family bonding.

buckley1983 Sun 15-Nov-20 23:43:58

My son is 7 & while he doesn't have a console/tablet, he does play games on my phone. We check out games together first, looking at age restrictions & suitability, etc. We'll set a time limit & he's pretty good at keeping to it.
What concerns me about this method though is that although the games we download are appropriate for his age - some of the adverts that pop up are for games that really aren't.
He hasn't asked for a console yet, but comments that many friends in his class have them. If we were to get one in future, the idea of having the linked parental controls app is very appealing & definitely something which would reassure me.

BristolMum96 Mon 16-Nov-20 16:09:29

I supervise all gaming content and have time restrictions

Carriecakes80 Mon 16-Nov-20 17:48:11

I've been gaming myself since I was 5, granted it was a ZX spectrum and my dad made a lot of the games himself lol, but have loved it ever since.
My kids love gaming, especially this year as it has kept them close with friends and family they haven't been able to see.
Roblox for example has some awesome role playing games, and my four younger ones get online with their cousins and they chat, laugh, and for them, for a while everthing is normal and cannot buy that feeling of your kid being happy and feeling secure in these mad times.
We even managed to get their Nan playing Among Us, a mystery Whodunnit game that all of us can join in on and work out who the imposter is, its brilliant!

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