Like many others of her age, my 5-year-old daughter loves playing games on her tablet. When she first started to take an interest in such games, I was incredibly wary. However, I soon discovered that some of these games were not as harmful as I had initially thought. We enjoy playing these games together. Some of them stimulate imagination and enable my daughter to practice some of the IT skills she will need in the future.
Firstly, I am not advocating allowing your child to play any online game without adult supervision. I have heard horror stories of children chatting to adults posing as children through some online games. Aurelia only plays games under our supervision.
I also switch off the chat option to prevent anyone at all from contacting her (she’s 5, it’s not as though she needs to chat to her friends over such devices). She has received a few friend requests whilst playing these games. I have told her if these requests pop up she is to reject them immediately (it has quickly become all part of the game she is playing at the time).
In playing these online games, we have been able to talk to Aurelia about the dangers of “online friends”. And explain the dangers of talking to people online. Hopefully having this explained to her and her understanding of such dangers from an early age will remain with her throughout her life.
Keeping your child safe online
My own personal approach to parenting has always been to be open and honest with my children. I don’t want them to look at the world through rose-tinted spectacles. Throughout their lives I have always emphasised that the world is full of kindness and beauty, but equal to that positivity is also danger and evil … and it’s everywhere!
My eldest daughter Kerri had unsupervised access to the internet from about the age of 12. She would use the computer for homework, to play games and occasionally chat with her friends. For every single account she used, whether it be email or an account for a game, I created the password.
I would regularly check her accounts to see how she had been spending her time online. Importantly, Kerri knew I was doing this. I would periodically go through her browser history. Whenever she wanted to play on a new game or create an account of any kind, she had to ask for my permission, and I then created her account for her using my own email address.
As I say above, I play these online games with my 5 year old and they are absolutely fab!
I have really enjoyed playing Roblox with Aurelia. The graphics are really basic, but that is the beauty of it! There are literally thousands of different games. Most of them are pretty straightforward, such as hide and seek games.
Slither.io is a really fun and simple game for young children. You can create and design your own slither character which then moves around a ‘world’. Playing against other characters, the object of the game is to eat as many pellets as possible to grow to be the largest. The game is very similar to snake which was featured on the Nokia phones … a very long time ago! If you’re head touches another player, then it’s game over!
Candy Crush Saga
Perhaps not an automatic choice for young kids but Aurelia loves this game (perhaps because I would play it while I was pregnant). Candy Crush Saga is simple – match 3 candies to clear them from the board and win points. Not only is this game fun for children, but it also helps them to work on their matching skills! Working through the levels, it’s a nice fun simple game for Aurelia and I to play together.
We have the classic Pac-Man on a games console in the house and recently we found it in the app store! Aurelia loves to play with games against her Daddy! Playing the game on her tablet also requires a certain amount of control which has assisted her computer skills greatly!
Minecraft is the only game on this list that requires a small subscription fee, but the £6.99 one-off payment is an absolute bargain! The possibilities with Minecraft are endless! Aurelia has created some of the most amazing realms using her imagination. You essentially start off with a blank canvas (with materials) and then create your won world. This game has been introduced to younger kids in schools and it is no small wonder!
Do your kids play online games? Have you played any of these games?