Employee & Community Health

Choosing e-games for gifts

11/15/2018 by Dr. Angela Mattke

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Electronic and video games are as much a part of a kid's toy box as Legos, dolls or art supplies. E-games come in all flavors: learning, exploring, being creative, solving puzzles, sports, action and everything in between. With thousands of e-games to choose from, making a wise choice can be daunting. If you're planning to give a young person an e-game as a gift, here are some tips to keep in mind: 

  • Ask parents what games they consider appropriate. Each family gets to decide what games are acceptable. Plus, they may have a family media plan in place with rules about certain types of games. 
  • Respect parents' choices. Parents, start an open dialogue with loved ones about your family's parameters. Be willing to suggest options. 
  • Do a little digging. Common Sense Media offers a wealth of information about books, e-games, movies, TV shows, apps and websites. You'll find reviews, as well as "best of" lists for each of these categories, as well as for learning and character development. All lists are organized by age, too. 

If you're playing e-games or videos with children, be aware of the American Academy of Pediatric's recommendations for screen time: 

  • Less than 18 months old: Discourage screen media other than video chatting. 
  • 18 months to 24 months: Screen media use is discouraged other than video chatting, but if the family desires, choose high-quality programming/apps and limit to less than one hour per day. 
  • Ages 2-5: Limit to one hour per day of high-quality programming and watch or play it with them. 
  • Ages 5 and up: Development of a personalized media use plan for each child is recommended. The plan determines what type, how much and what media. 

With a little research and conversation, you can light up a child or teen's face with "just what they wanted!"

Dr. Angela Mattke is a general pediatrician in Employee and Community Health's (ECH) Division of Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (CPAM) at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. She is also host of Mayo Clinic's interactive FacebookLive show called, #AskTheMayoMom, where she discusses and answers audience questions about common pediatric health topics. You can follow her on Twitter at @DrAngelaMattke. For more information about pediatric health topics, follow @mayoclinickids on Twitter.