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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).

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Mumsnet users share their thoughts about kids and online gaming with Nintendo
OP posts:
AngelicaElizaAndPeggy · 18/11/2020 22:02

My kids are 7 and 4 and don't play any games. I want them to play in the real world as much as possible while they are little. I want them to experience 'play' in the old fashioned sense- it's about being resourceful with the resources they've got, using their imaginations, making connections, challenging themselves and being resilient when things don't go their way. Gaming seems to give amazing hits of dopamine for extremely little effort and I just can't see how that's developmentally healthy for young kids.
In the summer, we stayed with friends who have older kids- they were all over tiktok and Fortnite and it was horrible. They were kind of fervent and edgy to be around and just didn't seem relaxed.

I guess it's inevitable that gaming will wind its way into their worlds at some stage but I want to make sure they've had a good basis in the skills of play first so that they can at least have some idea of how to self-regulate their time on computer games. I'm sure this sounds really dreary and I must come across as such a Debbie Downer but gaming really scares me.

TheEndisCummings · 19/11/2020 21:40

My 12 y o lives for gaming. He gets so much pleasure from it. He has learnt about the world, about morality, about community, thorough playing live with others. He loves open world games and it has increased his imagination and his sense of the world. It does not worry me in the slightest. There are some anazing games out there, including independent ones. He knows when he needs fresh air. He knows when he has had enough. The only.problem is cost.£40 to £50 a game is tough.

HollyWolly45 · 20/11/2020 07:33

Are you worried your child is playing video games too much?
I do worry about this, so at the moment, we have a day on and a day off policy. I think it keeps the balance right in our household.
Or perhaps you're concerned about the types of games they’re playing?
We buy the games, so we know which ones he's playing.
Maybe you have thoughts on how to encourage them to do other things if they’ve been playing for a while?
Get outside with the dog. Our son loves the dog as much as gaming, so suggesting a walk with the dog definitely works for us to get him off the computer!
Could online gaming offer some benefits for children at a time of social isolation?
I think so. Our son is an only child, so online gaming is a way he could connect with other people doing something he enjoys
Maybe you enjoy playing with them and consider it an opportunity to bond as a family?
Yep we have family computer sessions, and he loves it. He knows he always wins when playing against me too Grin

Perkypot · 20/11/2020 12:12

@Mintjulia

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.

Agree with this completely, a perfect balance is what's needed ( pre covid times ). Problem is my bay cousin struggled to keep a balance between outdoors and his tablet. I just think the internet has now changed the way children will now be brought up!
PashleyB · 20/11/2020 15:12

My two don't currently have a video games console but what's putting me off is that I think they would be more capable than me and I worry about age appropriateness of games etc. I think being able to programme time limits etc is a good idea

WhyIRayLiotta · 21/11/2020 00:25

I do worry about how much screen time my 8 year old has had since lockdown and beyond. But she (and her dad!) love computer games - it’s never been of interest to me , but they love their ‘gamers hours’ that they have a coupe of times a week. Where I’ll be relegated to my book (yippeeee!). My concerns lie in how rubbish I am at it all. DP is great and makes all the games as secure as they can be but I feel like a lemon. DD (8) does sometimes play with her friends online, and - especially with COVID - I feel I have to let her, but I hate the thought of any online activity I can’t properly police. I never thought I’d be like my parents were; where I had to explain how a DVD or email worked! But here we are 😕

Angiemum24 · 21/11/2020 14:42

My whole family besides me play games. I feel it takes over our lives. I hate it.

caravandreamer · 22/11/2020 00:38

My biggest concern is the "Raging" when they lose. My 3 boys have full meltdowns of fully crying, shouting and throwing the controllers. Losing is part of life though and they need to experience it, so I try to calm them and encourage them to try again with suggestions on how to do it again differently to win/get points .

The pros of gaming are what they learn from games without even realising they are learning. Things like in app purchasing learning them about money, change left, best value bundle etc. Also games that you build houses etc on are great for learning sizes, shapes, orientation, estimates etc. All learning and without any moaning of boredom! Wink

EndlessWaffle · 22/11/2020 10:28

We have a cap on screen time, we use the Nintendo app to control DS (9yo) time on switch. We also don't allow gaming until homework and any other essentials (breakfast etc!) are completed to a good standard.
We have found however that he will rush the homework or tooth brushing because he wants to get to his game time.
We also have a problem with the app because once their allowed time is up, you either completely disable parent control - so no further time limit- or turn off. I'd want to be able to permit another 30 min or whatever.
Also if other DC then use the console we can't allot separate time for them, so it's first come first served on the time permitted.

We found online gaming was invaluable for DS to maintain contact with friends in lockdown. Unlike his siblings he found it hard to just chat on phone or FaceTime. We used Roblox to meet in-game plus iPhone FaceTime to interact while playing. Requires a lot of devices all round but worked for them asa group.

Are you worried your child is playing video games too much? Sometimes but we control and limit as needed. Takes discipline.
Or perhaps you're concerned about the types of games they’re playing? No, DC can only access age appropriate games at home and his friends houses have similar restrictions
Maybe you have thoughts on how to encourage them to do other things if they’ve been playing for a while? See above re game time
Could online gaming offer some benefits for children at a time of social isolation? Yes see above
Maybe you enjoy playing with them and consider it an opportunity to bond as a family? Not my thing personally. I can't get on with the controls at all so I dislike it and he finds it frustrating to play with me. Gave up after on or to Mario kart races.

Kakiweewee · 22/11/2020 19:18

I use the Nintendo Parental Controls app for my younger kiddo, aged twelve.

I am less concerned by the content of the games they play, than by the contact they have with other people playing online. Games have age ratings and if I am really worried I'll use a peer review site like common sense media to see if other parents had any issues.

We've all enjoyed playing games together like Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley during lockdown. I do encourage them to have regular breaks, but I've found myself using screentime more during lockdown myself so I'm not too harsh on rules there. Instead I just tried to encourage regular exercise as a family after dinner, mealtimes together and no screens, and gave them responsibilities that they had to ensure they fulfilled each day including online schooling before they could play games.

alwaysataldi · 23/11/2020 10:03

I think in times of Covid children need some escapism, which is what gaming can give them - it can keep them connected with friends when on line. The mums in my sons peer group have agreed a 'internet off' time of 8pm, so they all sign off at the same time, and have downtime before bed.
Post Covid i would want to lessen the gaming time and spend more time socialising with family and friends - we have all missed this, and I worry about my childs social skills and confidence in being in a busier environment.

Goingovertosusanshouse · 23/11/2020 10:48

Mine are 6 and 8, I don’t worry currently as I’m in full control of the time they use for gaming. I worry about as they get older though and more into it and with greater peer pressure.

SoCrimeaRiver · 23/11/2020 12:32

My DS has ADHD and needs to run around to process thoughts, emotions etc. However much he loves gaming, and he has some games on his phone and tablet (he's y7 so needed a phone for bus not turning up etc.) and an old Ninentdo DS, but we try and limit screentime and encourage outdoor activity because his behaviour is much better when we do. during the first lockdown he had no interest in joining Teams discussions with other kids in his class and I have concerns about possible cyberbullying through online platforms. I know I can supervise his use of platforms but I work FT and have a toddler sibling to parent, so our focus is on him spending less time on devices.

StickChildNumberTwo · 23/11/2020 14:03

We try and limit screen time but it's so easy to let it drift because it keeps them happy and quiet. There are limits set on their tablets, but my 5 year old has sussed that if he asks to play Teach you monster to read or Sumdog he'll generally get extra. I convince myself it's not so bad when they're educational....

My daughter is just progressing to games where you can interact with other people (Minecraft, Roblox) and I'm realising I have no clue how the games work and therefore how to keep an eye, and help her to navigate them safely. I imagine this is only going to get worse as she gets older.

DitaFajitaJones · 23/11/2020 21:01

My daughter loves gaming- it is creative, involves problem solving and often is very social when online.
My concerns are becoming too engrossed in them and the toxic online environment with certain user bases in gaming.
We put a whole raft of safety measures when she plays online (limited to only people she knows and we approve) and we limit her time gaming each day.

We are a family that loves gaming, so think it is amazing...but like everything..in moderation.

Video games have really got us through the national lockdowns

GlitterFairy01 · 23/11/2020 21:16

We are a gamer family so screen time is something I try to keep an eye on.

I do worry about the amount of time my son in particular spends on computers. I don’t worry about what he’s playing as we have a no violence/magic rule in the house so the games he plays don’t affect his behaviour in a negative way.

Before covid we had 2 days a week that were screen free days but since covid and particularly in lockdown we allow screen everyday as I have found my children needing to meet up with friends online for their mental wellbeing.

I love hearing my children chat to friends (that they know in real life) online and playing with them. It brightens up what would be a very difficult time in their life.

HobNobAddict · 24/11/2020 09:51

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

Before lockdown, I was, but I put boundaries on play time, which he accepted, and behaviour did improve as he enjoyed his gaming time, appreciating it more - during lockdown I have relaxed my boundaries - it was a good way for him to keep in touch with his friends from school, and helped him cope with the changes in our routines.

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

Absolutely - I would get out the cornflakes and cadburys and we would make cornflake buns - it's his favourite thing to do.

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

Yes it has it's benefits - knowing that his friends are still out there, hearing him talk and laugh over the internet whilst playing just brought joy to my heart when he was playing.



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

We have a couple of Nintendo switches and love playing games together - it brings us closer together, and is just such a joyous thing to do.

hiddenmichelle · 24/11/2020 11:47

I do not mind my kids gaming and we regularly talk with them about internet dangers. Actually the gaming has been a real positive during this year - they are able to stay connected with friends through it

YesIDoLoveCrisps · 24/11/2020 15:02

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

I do worry about that so I set up time limits - however if the weathers been bad for a long time and we can’t get out, especially during one of the lockdowns I do let them play games longer and don’t feel bad about it.

pushchairprincess · 24/11/2020 15:31

Benefits are a bit of escapism and 'normality' when playing with their peers.
Concerns are wanting age inappropriate games, peer pressure to get them and becoming overstimulated before bedtime - we only allow after homework and tea - and turn off at 8pm

Labobo · 24/11/2020 16:50

My attitude to gaming changed a lot when I read a book called Superbetter by games designer Jane McGonigal about the power and value of gaming. I realised that games are brilliant for calming us, distracting us, and also for teaching some transferrable skills like resilience after failure, development of identity, recognition of own strengths and when and how to use them etc.

DC find it amusing that I encourage them to game after a stressful day at school or if they are upset. But it's genuinely soothing. When DS had a really quiet birthday and was missing his brother, it was made a lot more fun by us gaming together (I'd never done it before.)

Also, games today are so incredible, so beautiful artistically and so clever and developed. I watched a storyline play out in a WW1 battlefield game and had tears in my eyes at the end, which felt a bit odd, but the game had the same dramatic impact as a film.

I'd worry if gaming became obsessive but DC love walking, keeping fit, reading, playing musical instruments and other online lockdown activities, so it's a good part of the best you make of life in these circumstances and in normal times, it's just a healthy part of life.

TechnoDino · 24/11/2020 17:36

My dc play games online and on an xbox.
They’re not into GTA or shooting games so I have no concerns about the content, but I do worry about them potentially being groomed or bullied by other gamers, and of course about the gaming becoming a priority above other activities..
My dc are both secondary age so learn about online safety etc via school as well as my lectures Grin

SnowyMouse · 24/11/2020 19:00

I play with my DC, it's fun to play together.

Macncheeseballs · 24/11/2020 19:22

I hate gaming, turns everyone who plays it, kids and adults, into unpleasant human beings, but crack on Nintendo

thinonice · 24/11/2020 22:40

It's great fun. We plan too

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