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Tips for worried parents

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Minecraft

Minecraft

Observe age limits on games.

PEGI ratings are there for a reason - those ranked 18 often contain extreme violence, sex or discriminatory behaviour and should not be played by children or younger teenagers. Other ratings are 3+, 7+, 12+ and 16+.

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against any screen time - including TV, smartphones and tablets - before the age of two, with studies suggesting this can affect language development.

Keep games to a central living area

Videogame consoles should be in a main family area rather than a child's bedroom to discourage excessive use and like any sedentary activity put time limits in place.

Smartphone use should be banned at night in bedrooms, you could make it a rule that phones have to be left downstairs overnight, or turn off the Wi-Fi.

Play games with your kids

Don't adopt an ostrich approach, the more you know what your kids are playing the easier it is to know what's suitable and it can also be an enjoyable shared activity.

Restrict purchases

Don't let your child know your password or PIN code for making game purchases on iTunes or the Google store. If they already know it, change it.

Familiarise yourself with the parental controls built into all consoles. They can restrict gaming by age or time.

Irish Independent