Let’s face it- video games are here to stay. With the next generation of consoles about to come out, it’s a great time to review a few ways to make gaming a positive addition to your family, rather than a negative one. 

1. No gaming before bed.

This includes the adults, too. Research shows that in couples where one partner plays games and the other doesn’t, they often end up going to bed at different times, which reduces intimacy. Also, the glare of lighted screens (i.e. your TV, computer, tablet, etc.) can keep other people up.

2. Pace yourself!

Gamers and long distance runners have a lot in common: both tend to unintentionally neglect their significant other. This is because both activities are normally solitary and won’t be enjoyed by both partners. Depending on the game, either limit the length of your gaming sessions or how often you have them.

3. Find common ground.

Your son/boyfriend/husband really likes his new fancy game filled to the brim with explosions. However, you hate it and turn him down anytime he asks if you want to play too. Try to find common ground by finding games you both enjoy. There are some great websites, like this one, that can help you to discover new games together.

4. Learn what the ESRB ratings are.

Modern video games can be very graphic, and many are directed at an adult audience. ratings go from E (for Everyone) to AO (for Adults Only). Some retailers refuse to sell M (mature) rated and higher games to minors, but it is ultimately your responsibility to know what your kids are playing.

5. Monitor online activity.

Beware that many people online don’t really conduct themselves with any decorum, and children can pick up on that. It can be an easy way for them to act like little jerks, say all the bad words they know, and get away with it. Use online interactions to teach them that anonymity should not change how they treat others.

There is still a lot that we do not know about how video games affect us, but the key to managing them in your house effectively depend on moderation and understanding. Remember that games come in a lot of other forms too, such as mobile games and Facebook games. Use these rules as appropriate with any form of entertainment your family loves.