Online Games – Are They Family Friendly?

The majority of parents would love to spend quality time with their whole family. Adults, teens and younger children getting along and having fun seems such an ideal image. As parents, my wife and I have that same desire for our children, but we sometimes need a little help in achieving that goal. Games are one way of providing that help.

Online games are sometimes labeled “family friendly”, whether they are played directly over the internet or are downloaded to play at home later. Sometimes they are called “family safe” or even just “family games”. When I look at them I ask myself, ‘Are they really family friendly?’

What does the term “family safe” mean then? It can be described as affirming those values which are held by the majority of parents. For example, illegal drugs, gambling and excessive violence are generally not tolerated as being okay for children (or many adults). This doesn’t mean that there is no violence, though. As long as it is only animals or aliens that are being shot at or harmed (and not humans), the level of violence is seen as acceptable.

While “family safe” is a term that tries to address the moral values that many parents support, the term “family games” is less precise and may include things that anyone in the family may enjoy. Often, these activities may promote values that are immoral or illegal in the real world, such as speeding on public roads, destroying property or acting the part of a criminal.

Another aspect to consider is that most internet-based “family games” are played solo. One player competes against the computer or against a high score, with little real social interaction. They rarely encourage people to interact and play together.

If these terms are not really adequate descriptions of the sort of entertainment we want our families to play, what should we be looking for in “family friendly” games?

To be truly “family friendly”, games should go beyond merely being “safe” and should actively promote beneficial relationships. Not only should they avoid negative behaviors f95zone and values, they should encourage positive values such as showing care for each other, having fun and interacting in positive ways between everyone, regardless of age. In other words, enjoying each others company!

While some online games may be morally safe, none of them are really positive in their relationships since they fail to provide ways of spending time together. They also fail to provide opportunities to express love and care for each other, and the simple pleasure of having fun together.

If online or computer-based games fail the test of being family friendly, what type of games are? Old-fashioned, traditional games where a family sits around a table to play. Card, board, dice and parlor games are some examples. The type of pastime where there are opportunities to laugh together and help each other as you play, showing care and concern. Games where adults, teenagers and younger children get along and have fun together. A weekly games night after a meal, which may only take only an hour or two but can provide long lasting benefits that will be remembered well after the game itself is forgotten.

For example, our family recently played Dumb Crambo, a simple parlor game that requires no equipment or preparation. One of our teenage sons left the room while we chose a word (“Five”). When he returned we gave him a word which sounds like the chosen word (“Hive”). He then had to act out a word sounding like “Hive”, hoping that it is the chosen word. He acted out “Dive” and “Drive” before finally acting out the correct word “Five”. We would boo and hiss at his wrong guesses and finally cheered and applauded as he acted the correct word. Each of our children then had a turn trying to act out and find a chosen word (such as “Sun”, “Chalk” and “Cat”) for the next half-hour or so. From parents to our youngest daughter, we had the most hilarious time.