Tuesday, 21 October 2014

GAME Junior - Do you know what your kids are playing?

With October ticking to a close and November looming ahead with the promise of Christmas not far behind, I have been having a long hard think about what Santa may be bringing for Leo this year. A few months ago I couldn't imagine the thought of more toys entering the house, and I wanted a special item that Leo had really set his heart on, and that is when he told me that he wanted his very own Nintendo DS, just like his Auntie Alice's. 

Being a complete newbie to the gaming market, I wasn't sure if this was going to be even an option for Leo, my 3 year old. I didn't know what any of the age ranges were for these consoles and more importantly I was confused about the games available. Even if Leo was old enough to make use of a DS, would there be any games available for his age and level? I took to the internet and did my research and came across Nintendo's new 2DS, which very quickly proved to be a great choice for the entry level gamer such as Leo. What drew me directly to the 2DS was that instead of having the flip screen like the original DS Lite and the more recent 3DS, it was a solid object which would make it perfect for little hands. The recommended age for the 2DS is actually 7+, but reading between the lines, there are games available from the age of 3+, and I will be looking into the possibility of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Frozen, Moshi Monsters Katsuma Unleashed... And maybe even the New Super Mario Bro's 2... For me (Yes me!) I always loved this game as a child, and may have even made a point of completing the less recent New Super Mario Bro's back in 2007...

Of course suddenly having a child old enough to want and appreciate such technology has been a bit of a eye opener for me, and being a little out of touch with the latest game consoles and what not, I wasn't really 100% sure what I was looking at. But do you know what? I am not alone in these thoughts. With new research that has been carried out by GAME, it turns out that 40% of us parents are unsure which video games we should buy for our children. What I was really impressed with was that GAME have actually introduced a service called GAME Junior, with the sole purpose of educating us as parents and helping put that level of control back within our grasps. 

This is what GAME discovered...

'Whether it’s for a birthday or Christmas present, or just as a treat, when it comes to choosing the right videogame for their child, nearly half of parents (40%[1]) admit to feeling unsure of what to buy. This means they often ‘buy blind’, leaving the purchasing decision down to the child rather than being able to clearly assess what games they should be playing.

So, to help give the power back to parents, GAME Junior has done some research into the common issues affecting mums and dads when it comes to choosing a video game. The study revealed that the main concern for parents is understanding the PEGI age ratings with almost six in ten parents (59%) in the dark as to how this works.

The research also showed that parents who play videogames with their kids are more likely to see the benefits (65%) compared to those that don’t who feel more cautious. 40%[2] of parents polled admitted to making an excuse not to play videogames with their children and as a result the same proportion (40%) also expressed concern that their children aren’t playing age appropriate games.

To help alleviate some of these concerns and educate parents on PEGI ratings, as well as the benefits of videogames, GAME Junior has created a video in partnership with Andy Robertson, family video gaming expert from Family Gamer TV.

Andy Robertson, family gaming expert comments “With so many great video-games to choose from it’s not surprising that parents can often feel overwhelmed. For any parent in this situation, the best thing to do is check the PEGI ratings for the game which show the appropriate age rating and spend some time researching the game. If you’re at home look up games online and watch trailers so you find the best match for your family, or if you’re in store, ask for advice. Places like the GAME Junior section in stores or online help parents understand more about videos games and select a game that is relevant for their child.”'

With Christmas just around the corner there is no better time to ask any questions about any games or consoles that have made it onto your little one's bulging Christmas lists. Have a look online or pop into your nearest GAME store with any queries you may have, and rest assured that you have done your research into the game content and game play to make sure that it is suitable for their age and specific level of development.

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated for this post. All views and opinions are completely honest and my own.