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Violent Video Games, Digital Passports and Common Sense

Violent Video Games, Digital Passports and Common Sense

Summer is officially here! It’s 90 degrees out today. Are your kids already bored? Are they escaping the heat in front of the computer (Gameboy, smart phone, iTouch, DS, etc.)? In all things Media, we always look to our friends at Common Sense® Media and there is a wealth of information from them in the last few weeks. Here is a just a sampling:

From their Weekly Parent Edition – 10 Most Violent Video Games (and alternatives). They’ve listed the 10 Most Violent Video games in their opinion. I listed this one first (and borrowed a snipet of their picture) because if you aren’t aware – this is what our kids are doing.  Video/Digital Games are IN!  I will grant you that more gamers are boys than girls, particularly in the violent genre. But if what I see in restaurants and churches or any where we hope our kids will sit quietly – games are being played on mobile devices by boys and girls alike. And it is important that we know what kind of games our kids are playing. I found as interesting as the article itself were the comments. I think many of the comments give us even more insight and included somethings parents may not know – you can adjust the intensity of many of these games – you can “turn off the blood!”.

Speaking of a difference between boys and girls, an interesting quick read is their 12 page guide on Boys, Girls and Media Messages in a Digital World. It brings up important information how stereotypically boys and girls are still treated in the media. More importantly it reminds us what we as parents and educators can do to change some of the stereotypes media portrays about both genders, like: Help kids choose age-appropriate media that reflects their family values or, Place value on things beyond people’s appearances and superficial qualites.  It also included some interesting insights about how our kids use Social Media.

And speaking of games, Common Sense has released their Digital Passport for Kids. This app was formerly available for schools and now is available for iOS or Android. Digital Passport™ mobile is available at no cost through August 31, 2013, on Google Play and iTunes. For the classroom version, visit www.digitalpassport.org. In Digital Passport™, kids will find their favorite kinds of games and activities — like platform games, tools for creating digital mashups, and other fast-paced gobble ’em up games, all geared toward teaching them important lessons about digital life. When kids complete all of the levels, they’ll earn their Digital Passport™ to online safety.

I never can say enough about all the great resources you can get at Common Sense® Media. Let them help you find some fun (safe) things to do this hot summer!