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

138 replies

LibbyMumsnet · 09/11/2020 13:32

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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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Mumsnet users share their thoughts about kids and online gaming with Nintendo
OP posts:
Cotswoldmama · 16/11/2020 20:36

That app sounds great. We're getting our boys a switch for Christmas to share and it's great to know we can limit screen time if we need to.
We usually use screen time as a reward. So if they do something education like reading or spellings or handwriting they can play. Although I do find in the winter months when it's cold and wet we do let them play more.
At the moment they have a wii and we tend to play the sporty or racing games we try to avoid any fighting games.

RippleEffects · 16/11/2020 21:06

Mine are 17, 14 and 9. The elder two starting gaming together when they were about 6 and 4. I never thought I'd allow gaming (plans vs reality) but the elder is Autistic and gaming gave the unexpected opportunity to encourage parallel play.

We had a PS2 and a load of adventure games that required reading a plot then following instructions. My younger son couldn't quite manage all the reading parts but was very keen on the action parts, the elder was good at the logistics and reading. The PS2 had leads connecting the controllers so they were teathered to the screen.

For my DC the improvement in play and working together for mutual gain was significant.

My middle DS absolutely loves to game now. Eldest is less fussed but does love virtual driving lorries around, I can't think what its called but he takes it very seriously and now has an outstanding knowledge on the European road network. We do talk a lot about online life and I/ we regularly discuss who if anyone they're playing with and there are some games I don't approve of but fortunately whilst DS2 does like some shooting type games he loves creating games like minecraft and farming simulator.

My youngest has a social communication disorder. She has enjoyed pokemon go but in lockdown we got a switch and ring fit which she's loved. we've just got mario kart which is great fun to play together even if I can't get the vehicle going in the right direction most of the time. Though gaming with her classmates in lockdown she has established friendships that she didn't previously manage in real physical life. The rules and reason to engage have eased her communication worries and this has branched out into her real interactions which are greatly improved now she's back in school.

So now as a seasoned mum I'm pro-gaming. Its done a lot of good for my DC's development. Like all aspects of parenting it needs supervision and any tools that help that are a good thing.

EnglishGirlApproximately · 16/11/2020 21:29

I had long resisted buying a console for 8yo DS as I had concerns about gaming, but relented and bought a switch during lockdown. Its actually been far easier to control than I expected. The timer is set for an hour a day but it's easy to override by a parent if need be, and I like the ability to set a limit on age but whitelist some titles.
He only has access to age appropriate games (no fortnite) etc., most of which can also be family games which has been great for all of us through long periods of self isolation.
We've also discovered Labo, which is frankly brilliant. DS has little patience but will sit for hours building Labo, great creative projects for a young gamer.
My main worry as he gets older is navigating the inevitable peer pressure to play games for adults. I'm already aware of several of his friends playing 18+ games and at the moment he completely agrees that he shouldn't but I expect that to change.

DillieDoily · 16/11/2020 22:35

My 9 year old has had a Switch for a year - he only gets it at weekends and holidays but I do worry about how much time he spends on it and how all consuming it is- it's so hard to get him off it and he then finds everything else "boring". I also worry about him playing online games and all the dangers that brings - we've avoiding it so far but I can see it looming in the near future!

CakeDream · 16/11/2020 23:04

My kids have limited screen time. They are only allowed to use devices Friday to Sunday. On the weekend we have family time which can be anything from outdoor activities to watching a movie or gaming together. I do worry that too much gaming can make kids very lazy and inactive. My DD almost 10 would sit on her bottom all day if allowed to. I do like the fact that kids can play online with kids especially now.

TicTacTwo · 16/11/2020 23:13

My children enjoy gaming- one prefers their mobile, another their console and the third likes their pc. They are teenagers with good behaviour and friends so I don't worry about the content they play. It's very interesting how online gaming becomes more sociable when using a headset. It reminds me of using a telephone and watching tv at the same time Smile

I grew up with gaming and worked in gaming but I like different genres to my kids. My sons tend to prefer FPS while my dd likes more casual mobile games. We have played multiplayer games together like Among Us and Minecraft .

If they were younger I'd be seriously concerned about them talking to and being contacted by strangers. I have heard such conversations happen and I'm relieved that online chat is a relatively new phenomenon.

MrsArchchancellorRidcully · 16/11/2020 23:34

I read today that it seems social gaming, where you interact with your friends at the same time as gaming, is actually beneficial. I must say I prefer my DS gaming than watching mindless tv.

He is almost 9 and I always said no to fortnite. But in first lockdown I had to give in as it was the only way to talk to him friends. They all played fortnite. I asked him to teach me to play and I must say I quite enjoy it. The graphics are superb. It is very addictive though and he spends most of his pocket money on vbucks. But is his money. It doesn't spill into his real life and any outbursts quickly result in the Switch being locked. We have strict limits on play time and he seems pretty good at sticking to them easily. My only complaint is he's lost interest in all other games as fortnite is all he wants.

I draw the line at any over 15 game though. Not a chance.

wellingtonsandwaffles · 17/11/2020 01:16

As a teacher I was concerned about my students addiction to gaming - many older boys gaming every night into the early hours. Yes it’s social but it’s a symptom of how society has changed for the worse and how even in non COVID times teen interaction is overwhelmingly online. My DH loves his switch and I can already see it encroaching on family life with young DC very interested in what he’s doing and attempting to join in.

MargosKaftan · 17/11/2020 10:41

We have a set length of time they can play each day. Theres often an option to "earn" more time, but it forces a break in between. Generally its easier to set a low time limit (we have 1 hour), then be kind to give more time, than to set no limit then try to reduce it when they are tired/poorly behaved.

FromTheAllotment · 17/11/2020 11:04

I worry about my son’s mood and the effect gaming has on that. He has a really really limited amount of time and he’s still young, but he spends a LOT of time either whining for more screen time or upset because it’s over. I would really love it if a bit of Mario Kart could be a fun family afternoon activity- it’s lockdown and coming on winter, indoor options are useful!- but it’s hard not to feel that it’s bad for him when he gets so grumpy and whiny about it.

MessyJ87 · 17/11/2020 14:03

My boys are just getting into gaming, so at the moment we are enjoying it as a family activity while learning how to play safely and explaining boundaries and rules as we play.

GrapevineFires · 17/11/2020 15:54

At the moment I don't have any worries as DS is only 3 and I'm an avid gameplayer.

However, I do know from my own experience that they can be addictive to escape into a gaming world so I appreciate as a parent it's important for me to set limits. I think being a gamer really helps to know the ones that will appeal and are safe and the ones to just avoid.

At the moment DS is happy looking at my fish collection on Animal Crossing so and reciting the names so it's been a real plus so far.

Hmumto3 · 17/11/2020 16:46

The benefit is its a good distraction and time pass for the kids but my biggest concern is they get hooked and don't ever want to get off, plus their behaviour gets worse as a result.

ClarissaL · 17/11/2020 17:23

I worry about my kids when they play the really addictive type of game where they want to open chests each day and they then feel they need to go on the game a lot.

They have recently enjoyed SkiCross though - it is an ad-free skiing game with no in-app purchases and was built to raise money for a school in Uganda. It costs £2.99 and is well worth it.

Asuwere · 17/11/2020 18:24

I don't worry too much about gaming. I think it's the same as everything else, in moderation and with proper rules, it's fine. It is annoying when they have friends who are allowed to play games which are inappropriate for their age as then I'm the mean parent saying no, but I do explain to my kids and they understand.

Ashhead24 · 17/11/2020 19:34

We're a bit of a gaming family so my ds5 plays with one of us a bit, he likes Minecraft and ori. It's been pretty good for his fine motor skills and learning to do two things at once with the controller. We do limit it to 30 mins at a time though as he does get very absorbed.

He brings the storylines he's seen into his play and so it's really important he only plays appropriate games. Fortunately we're still at the stage that he can't play without one of us but I do see that being a problem as he gets bigger.

Tanfastic · 17/11/2020 21:16

My son has quite a severe stammmer which is hardly noticeable when he wears earphones and games with his friends. For this reason alone I encourage him to play and keep talking.

Kweenxo · 17/11/2020 21:18

DS is not much of a gamer, although he loves watching kid friendly stuff on youtube on the iPad. We always try to minimise screen time as we don't want him to become addicted. There are afterall more active alternatives to having fun for children.

MumC2141 · 17/11/2020 21:21

Mine just like to play simple games on their kindle kids tablets. We can limit the time so it isn’t a problem at the moment.

pastagirl · 17/11/2020 21:52

I was reluctant to let my 12 Yr DS enter the world of gaming. He was p7 going to s1 over summer and over lockdown he found that most of the kids were happy to chat on a group voice call but they all did it while playing a game together. So we got a switch and joined the dreaded fortnight. Rules were not in bedroom on your own and easy leave easy come back. Has actually been pretty good. He does jto play it obsessively at all and the mainlynseem to use it as a social tool, a focus to have in common while they chat. We have moved to.mine craft and that is BRILLIANT. They have had cousins from all over the world on a whats ap call while they work together to defeat the ender dragon. 8 Yr DS like creative in minecraft and basically builds houses and plays the same games she does with her dolls house (but she can do it with her cousin down under which they cannot do with a actual dolls house) we have found the switch brsuper good addition to the family.

m0jit0 · 18/11/2020 07:51

Our kids are too young for gaming (both under 3) but I can see how it could be addictive and I have friends who have older kids and say that personalities change when they go through a spell of gaming a lot so that does worry me.

misskatamari · 18/11/2020 08:16

We enjoy games a lot in our family. DH makes them, so there's no escaping their presence 😄

My children are young, but really enjoy games, and we play a lot as a family together. I don't allow them free reign tho, and if I'm every getting nagged about wanting to play them, I know it's time to have a bit of a break as they've obviously been playing too much.

We have lots of other interests, they love playing with toys, playing board games all together and are very creative, so love to craft, so I don't feel like computer games are played too much generally. We don't have set rules, or timings, just try and be sensible about it. If it's a glorious day, no, you can't play on the switch after breakfast, we're going out. When it's lockdown and it's pissing it down, sure let's have a more chilled day and play more games than usual.

As mine are young, we mostly play Nintendo games, which on the whole are lovely and family friendly. I will be monitoring things a lot more as they grow up and won't be allowing violent games that are vastly above their ages, rating wise, as I think that is one of the main issues that I have with gaming. Along with the sexist female tropes seen in many games.

On the whole though, I think gaming can be such a lovely way to spend time as a family. We've got some great games on our switch especially, and have a fab time playing them, especially with all the lockdowns/restrictions this year, which have really affected our usual routine

abigaillie · 18/11/2020 09:47

umm, my kids play games on ps console. and I've turned on the parental option. it keeps me updated on the games they play.

onemumandherboys · 18/11/2020 14:40

I just wrote a blog about my 2 and their love of technology. They haven't got too much interest in any other games yet but 1 is obsessed with Minecraft. I've put Parental controls on so he can't play with anyone else online, it stresses me to think he could link up with someone we don't know. I worry about his safety.
It is good for him though as it encourages his creativity. We limit the amount of time he gets through the week too as found if he has too much it impacts his behaviour.
The other is still too young for that kind of gaming experience. He just watches Blippi on YouTube.

RedToothBrush · 18/11/2020 21:21

DS has just turned 6.

During the first lockdown he started playing animal crossing.

What was brilliant was how he started to try and write his own letters to the animals and he got really excited by the expression feature.

He started to copy the emotions from the expression feature, so i think it helped him to express a range of emotions at a time when he wasn't getting that social interaction from his peers.

He has to be time limited on the switch or he goes bonkers, and the pace of the game definitely affects the amount of time he can play before his behaviour goes downhill.

Its good that there are games which aren't adult ad can appeal to a wide age range without worrying about content.

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