Is your child old enough for a gaming console?

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

With the popularity of consoles, you may be wish to get your kids one. But are they old enough?

As the digital world expends evermore and it has become absolutely normal for children to discuss the newest games in the playground or at school. You may feel pressured into allowing your children to own their own high-end console. It’s almost certain that their friends already have the newest games and whatnot. So how can you justify letting your child fall behind?

But it’s never quite as simple as that. Is it appropriate for your child? Is it adequate buying them something worth a lot of money? Are they generally old enough for what’s in store? We’ve gathered some of the most important things to take into consideration.

Is your child already a screen junkie?

Does your child already have access to other screens? Do you let them play on your tablet? Or do they have their own? How much television do they watch? If your answer indicates that they might already be spending too much time hooked to a screen, you may wish to be careful.

After all, if they’re already spending hours staring at pixels, adding to that may prove to be disastrous to their health. Be careful not to add too much more exposure to screens to their daily intake. Perhaps consider replacing tablet-time with console time, or avoiding it altogether. Discuss this with the child when it asks for a console and make sure everyone understands the deal beforehand.

Age is just a number…

…but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. Do take individual developments into account. How responsible are they with their time? Do they handle electronic devices with care? Are they able to distinguish between emotions involved in games and those in real life?

As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want your kid to be as mature as possible when buying them their first gaming console. The more immature they are, the more prone they are to fall into addiction. Make sure they understand rules and boundaries and respect your decision, and make sure the games they play are appropriate to their age..

For that matter, how’s your own discipline?

One additional thing to take into account is your own discipline when it comes to gaming consoles. How likely are you to say no? Are you able to brave the storm of a tantrum when your child insists on playing for longer, possibly way after their bedtime?

If you have the proclivity towards giving in, then you really don’t want to buy your child a gaming console. The risk of addiction is high enough as it is, and if you aren’t capable of setting boundaries you increase that risk by a significant amount.

As you can see, a lot of the decisions related to buying your child a console are dependent on individual cases. Nobody knows your child as well as you do, so think hard about the benefits and downsides and make an informed decision.