Kids and Video Games: A New Guide

Kids and Video Games: A New Guide

Video gaming is a bit of a misfit activity. Though it’s slowly gaining acceptance as an ideal family pastime, it has yet to shake off the bits of bad press that cling to it like barnacles. Gaming seems to always wind up being mentioned in the same breath as a school shooting, or rising instances of childhood obesity and diabetes. As a result, some parents might be a little shocked when they learn that you let your kids play games. You may as well suggest that you let them roll around with alligators.

That’s why Johner and Christina Riehl put together The site not only sheds light on the diversity of video games and the huge number of titles that are appropriate for kids, but also clues parents into games that tailored specifically for family play.

“My wife and I created as a resource for parents to be able to find easy-to-understand information about games that may be interesting for their family,” Johner says, “with an emphasis on games that are easy-to-play and fun for families to play together.”

In fact, parents can perform a search for appropriate games on the website by providing some simple information. “[F]or example, if a family is looking for an educational DS game for a 7-year old, you simply check those appropriate boxes [on the search engine], and we’ll present you with games that fit those criteria.”

FamilyFriendlyVideoGames doesn’t restrict itself to recommending titles by system or age group, however. Families can also choose how they want to play. If a family is okay with really getting into the groove of a game, for instance, they can specifically search the site for games that allow them to “let loose.” Or if a family wants a cooperative or competitive game, they can search for that, too.

Johner says that he and his wife, who work on the site full-time, are working to include more coverage of iOS games. “It’s one of our growth areas, and we actually have a good plan in place to get that built up later this year.”

Every game that’s evaluated on the site goes through a grading process that’s similar to a report card. Games are scrutinized according to their ease of learning, problem areas, and family appropriateness. If any game on any platform is deemed ideal for family play, it’s awarded the FamilyFriendlyVideoGames Seal of Approval. Before doling out the Seal, the site asks, among other questions, “Is the game fun for parents to play with their kids?” “Does the game have any educational value?” “Can kids navigate the game’s menu to get to the gameplay without any assistance?”

Video games can be a healthy and fun pastime for kids, but making sure children can only access appropriate materials takes some care and work on the part of the parents. makes the search for the ideal family game that much easier–and it’s a handy URL to flash at co-workers who frown at the idea of letting their own kids play those “horrible, violent” video games.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.


  1. We love this site for helping us pick exactly what the webname means: Famiy Friendly Video Games — it helps take some of the workload off choosing appropriate games — which helps busy parents!

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