Becoming A Video Game Expert

American children are avid consumers of movies, music, and video games. But sometimes their entertainment options may not be suitable for them. How can a parent make sure the latest blockbuster, popular video game, or trending album is right for their kids?

Hablamos de Gamers

CERTA, a group that brings together movie theaters, video game and video game stores and music retailers, encourages parents to take some simple steps to make sure the entertainment is right for your family:

First, look for the notification. All video games and most movies have a rating. The review completes a “content descriptor” explaining why the game or movie got its rating. Music with pornographic content displays a “parental warning” poster on the album cover or an “explicit” warning in an online download catalog. Use these prompts to make sure a video game, movie, or music is appropriate for your child.

• Second, watch movies, listen to music, and play video games with your children. (Sure, it might not always be easy or welcome, but it is important to put in the effort.) Talk to your kids. Make sure they understand what the ratings and ratings are about and what they can learn from them.

Third, set appropriate boundaries. Like any form of entertainment, music, movies, and video games should not be allowed to interfere with schoolwork, exercise, and other important activities.

Finally, for those lucky enough to own an Xbox 360 video game console, check out the parental controls. You can configure the console so that adult-only and adult video games will not play on the system. (Coming soon, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Revolution will also include parental controls.)

Entertainment can inform, inspire, and challenge Wes. There are movies, video games, and music for all ages and interests, but not all options are suitable for all audiences. Using these guidelines, parents can ensure that their choices are appropriate for their family.

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