Parents and Video Games: Best Online Tools

Parents and Video Games: Best Online Tools

If you’re the parent of a child who enjoys gaming, the online world can appear as a mire of predators and destructive websites waiting to catch and swallow your kid whole. But the Internet is also a grand educational and entertainment resource. Here are some websites, apps and high-tech resources that will help you help your child enjoy gaming and surfing online.

WEBSITES

1UP.com

This long-lived gaming website features news, reviews, previews, and a busy community that encourages interactivity. It’s free to sign up as a member, and members are given their own blog space wherein they can talk about games and invite other bloggers to join in on discussion.

Gamasutra.com

A smart gaming news site that features many interviews and with developers, publishers, and other individuals who work in the games industry, providing deeper insight into today’s top game makers and the mindset behind their creations.

GameSpot.com

Another long-lived game website. A good spot for up-to-the-minute gaming news, previews, reviews and detailed information on the titles your kids play.

FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com

Issues detailed report cards for video games, identifying the hottest new titles from a family standpoint, and pointing out potential stumbling blocks that parents should be aware of when picking new software for kids.

APPS

The ESRB App

Take a picture of a game that’s for sale at retail with your smartphone, and this app will automatically forward you to a detailed summary of the game’s ratings information, letting you check age ratings and get info on potentially controversial content.

TimeLeft

This application provides the ultimate in time management. It features a stopwatch, reminder sticky notes, a countdown, reminder alarms, and other features that are ideal for managing a child’s time online or on a video game console.

GamesRadar App

Allows users to look up detailed FAQs (information sheets with answers to frequently asked questions) for video games while on the go. Very handy for anyone who’s on the road and stuck on the final boss of  the latest Nintendo DS or iPhone RPG!

RESOURCES

GiantBomb.com

A huge editable game database that also boasts a large community. Definitely the place to check if you want in-depth information on a particular game or member of the industry.

HardCoreGaming101.com

A rich resource for anyone with a keen interest in retro game history. Features in-depth essays on individual games and game series. (Beware, the language is a bit salty at times.)

TheLostLevels.org

A more advanced site that’s ideal for budding game historians. Features information and interviews regarding games and levels that have been “lost’ to time.

VGMuseum.com

A very detailed depot bursting with scans of game ads, captures of game screens, and a database of game endings.

ESRB.org

The website of the ESRB. Features an advanced game search that carefully outlines why a game was assigned a certain rating. A priority bookmark for parents who want to know what content is in their kids’ favorite games!

WhatTheyPlay.com

What They Play goes one step further with ESRB ratings and describes potentially controversial content within each game it evaluates. The site also evaluates online games and offers tips on how families can enjoy gaming together.

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 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

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