Mapping Your Child's Digital Play With A Gaming Inventory
Author: Andy Robertson
This will map each game's content, the wider context in which it's played and the craft required to play it. It won’t change things immediately but it's the background we need to frame more in-depth conversations later on.
Gaming Inventory Part 1: The ContentFind a notebook and write your child’s name on the front. Then, one to a page, write the name of three or four of their favourite video games out of the ones they’ve played over the last couple of years. Under each game write an answer to each of the following questions, which focus on the content of each game. Some of these things you may know, but others you will need to talk to your child about.
- What sort of game is it?
- Is it a new game or one that’s been around for a long time?
- How much money have they spent on it?
- How did they find the game in the first place?
- Is there a back story to the game?
- What is their role in the game?
- What is the game rating?
- Do they know why the game got its age rating?
Gaming Inventory Part 2: The ContextWe can now deepen our understanding of the world of gaming our child enjoys by expanding the details for each of the games in our gaming inventory. This will create new ways to talk about games with our children and spark conversations that go beyond disagreements over when to stop.
Get out the game inventory notebook you started earlier. Previously, we listed things about the game content. This time we’ll answer questions that focus on the playing context of that game for our child.
- Who do they play the game with?
- Is the game online or offline?
- Do they have favourite websites for learning about the game?
- Do they watch videos of other players, and who are their favourites?
- How do they communicate with others in the game?
- Have they joined communities or chat groups outside the game?
- How harsh or supporting is the community around a particular game?
- Are there conventions featuring the game they’d like to go to?
- Are there any fiction or non-fiction books about the game they’d like to read?
Gaming Inventory Part 3: The CraftThe benefits that a child gets from playing a video game come in part from the effort they are putting into it. With this in mind it’s a good time to revisit our gaming inventory and think about the work children are putting into their gaming.
Having mapped the content and context of the games they play, we can now add questions that address the help understand the play-craft, skills and character they are developing while playing.
- How long have they been playing it for in total?
- What time of day and days of the week do they play?
- Do they spend time practising or training?
- Have there been times when they kept losing, and how did they improve?
- What do they do if they get stuck in the game?
- Do they have a proudest moment in the game?
- What are their goals for the game over the next week?
Thank you for using our resource, supported by AskAboutGames, ParentZone and PlayAbility Initiative. We are editorially independent, written by parents for parents, but welcome sponsorship, partnership and suggestions. Email our editor for details on these opportunities.
The information on this database is designed to support and complement the in-depth discussion and advice about video game "addiction", violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. If you have any concerns or questions in these areas, email our editor who is quick to respond or can arrange for a one-to-one conversation.