Another Year, Another Round of Fun and Adventure.


With so many options to choose from, deciding exactly which video games are right for kids can be intimidating. To help parents--and gifters--feel confident about what they give, the retailer GameStop is offering a few tips for selecting fun, age-appropriate titles geared toward learning and development.

Understand ratings. The Entertainment Software Rating Board ratings provide guidance about video games and apps, so parents can make informed choices about the best titles for their family. The following ratings outline the basic qualifiers for each category, but parents can learn more about games and their content using ESRB's game rating summaries.

* E (Everyone). Content generally is suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy, or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.

* E 10+. Appropriate for gamers ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy, or mild violence, mild language, and/or minimal suggestive themes.

* T (Teen). Suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

* M (Mature). Generally appropriate for 17 and up and may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content, and/or strong language.

Find brain games. Kids love video games because they're fun, but the benefits of video game-play go far beyond entertainment. A recent GameStop survey found that 71% of parents believe that playing video games can help kids develop strategic thinking skills. With the right, age-appropriate games, children can hone a variety of skills, including problem solving, creativity, and team work. Gaming also can boost confidence and motivate kids to set and achieve new goals. Titles that require active play even can improve hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills.

Save time with proven picks. With hundreds of games to choose from, it can get quite confusing--and overwhelming. Ask your video game salesperson to make age-appropriate recommendations.

Make it a family affair. Families that play together, stay together. Playing video games as a family can be a great way for parents to show interest in their kids' favorite activities, which, in turn, can improve and increase frequency of parent-child communication. Family gaming also fosters healthy competition and a "team mentality" at home.


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