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Holiday Shopping: Tips for Choosing Safe Online Games and Devices

It happens every year at this time, but still it somehow manages to sneak up on us. Yes, it’s holiday shopping season again, and it’s time for an annual reminder of how to make smart choices for your kids.

If your child is among the one-out-of-two or your teen among the four-out-of-five kids playing online games today, we have a whole new set of guidelines for you this year-especially as game developers have introduced some new top draws.

Microsoft’s Kinect for the Xbox 360, a motion-controlled video game (much like Wii sans the controller), for example, is expected to be a top seller as is the new Sony PlayStation Move bundle. Industry watchers are also predicting strong sales for Halo: Reach (a game that’s best left to adults), Wii Party, Fallout: New Vegas, Rock Band 3 and a handful of others.

Online Gaming 2010, a research report from the NPD Group, indicates the average gamer spends eight hours a week in online game play, an increase of about 20 minutes per week over 2009. That’s a lot of time spent gaming-and a lot of opportunity for danger.

Injuries

The danger comes in two varieties. The first is injury, primarily from repetitive motion. In fact, computer gaming systems come with warnings, advising players to be cognizant of eye strain and orthopedic injuries. To safeguard against those:

  • Make sure your child takes at least a 15-minute break every hour.
  • Attend to any complaints of sore joints or muscles after your children play. These can be early warning signs of developing repetitive injuries. Insist your child suspend play for a few days and then tighten limits on the amount of time they’re allow to spend.
  • One more hazard to watch is seizures. They’re rare-only about one in 4,000 players has them-but if your child has ever had a seizure or loss of consciousness, be especially watchful.

If, despite your efforts, your child does sustain a significant injury, consult a lawyer about a potential tort claim. Some parents may resist, thinking the legal system may fail them or blaming themselves for giving the game or device to the child. But as we say every year, the threat of punishment can be a powerful deterrent to manufacturers inclined to take safety-compromising shortcuts.

Privacy and Overall Safety

The second form of danger focuses more on your child’s privacy, emotional well-being and stranger danger. These tips can help.

  • Do your homework. While the games have rating systems-and it’s important to understand them-it’s even more important to go a step further and weigh whether they are appropriate for your child and your family values. A number of online parent websites give good feedback, many of which may share your values. Common Sense Media’s site is a good starting point. If you’re going to spend $50 on a game, you want to know what your child will be learning and doing with it.
  • Establish the rules before your child plays. At a minimum, you’ll want to set time limits, but many families also develop rules about whom their kids may play with, stranger chat and especially sharing personal information (name, age, school, address, e-mail address, etc.). Some families have even developed contracts with their children that outline the rules and the consequences for violating them.
  • Avoid voice chat. Some gaming systems have live chat capabilities. While programs are available to make your child’s voice sound older, they’re also available to make adults’ voices sound younger. Your best bet is to limit live chat to just the people your child and you know.
  • Take full advantage of built-in guards and reporting systems. Most systems allow you to block and/or report players who use offensive language or engage in cyberbullying. You’ll want to know about those systems before your child plays.
  • Monitor play. Just as you need to monitor to avoid physical injury, you need to monitor to avoid other dangers, too. This begins with keeping online gaming systems in open family areas of your home (not bedrooms). Watch to be sure your child is following the rules you established up front, taking appropriate breaks and playing games that conform to your values.

It takes extra time and effort to safeguard your child when it comes to online gaming. But doing so substantially increases the odds that the gaming experience will be a fun, positive one for your child. Remember, you are the final line of defense when it comes to your child’s well-being.

Play Stress Relief Games and Reduce Stress Easily

There are many available techniques that help us reduce stress, some are comprehensive and time taking while others are easy, funny and more accessible to most of us. The former techniques include funny jokes and pictures, relaxation and most common of all playing computer games.

Much research was conducted on the effects of playing games to reduce levels of stress and most of them confirm the positive effects of games when we are trying to reduce it. These games have the advantage of not only being more accessible and easy relief technique, but also they offer fun and entertainment, something that we don’t get from traditional stress management techniques.

We all know that many different kinds of games are available for us to play. But probably you wonder what game is the best for reducing stress. Well there is no simple answer to that questions, we could almost say that not only one but most of the games help relieving stress. First we could mention the good old traditional group games for stress relief, which we played with our relatives, friends or family. Those are the games like monopoly, card games, backgammon, charades and many other similar that you can play with other people without using your laptop or computer. This group of games is known to humanity for centuries if not even millenniums. Even the old societies had some kind of group games and this type of stress games is still quite commonly played in current society,

Other group is the group of computer games which is on constant rise as our society gets more digitalized. As computer games are becoming more popular there are also many stress relief games being developed. We all probably know game stress reducer desktop destroyer, where you can choose your favorite weapon to smash, burn, destroy or in any way mutilate your computer desktop. Few years ago this game was one of the most popular relieving games on computer and we could stay that it is still amongst the top stress relief games available. Other games that we could mention are newer version of Stress Reducer Desktop Destroyer; On-line Paintball which is very funny and exciting; Sudoku that help us calm down and concentrate and many others that are being played to help people combat their stress.

Now that we have specified what kind of games are available we could easily say that playing games is still very useful and commonly used relief technique. Even more, not only that this type of relieving stress is common it is also growing rapidly. In recent years there has been a burst in development of stress relief games because this technique is being more and more perceived as one of the easiest and more accessible to the whole society.

Copy Games and Bring a Smile on Your Child’s Face

During my childhood days I have only played games using joysticks. They were simple and only a few games were available during those times. It was my uncle who gave me this wonderful gift on my 10th birthday. I was very proud of it and carried it around showing off to my friends. I still remember the day when my favorite game disc fell from my hand into a bucket of water and got destroyed. At that time no one actually knew the importance of copying games and keeping a backup.

This is not the present scenario as play stations and X-Box is available to kids nowadays. New technologies and graphics are included which makes children get attracted to them very fast. Do not stay away from gaming if you are an adult as you can also enjoy them equally. Game discs are very expensive and once destroyed cannot be retrieved. The only solution to this problem is copy games into another disc. The technique is very simple and also helps in backing up your favorite games forever.

You can find different software available online which helps to copy games easily and efficiently. The only effort you have to take is get hold of DVD burner software on your personal computer. Insert the game disc into the drive and click on the burn option. It automatically gets stored into your computer. All these software’s have the ability to break the encrypted codes and bind them together.

There is absolutely no difference while playing the original disc and the stored up disc. Both work with the same efficiency and speed. More and more copy games software’s are introduced in the market which will help you in collecting the duplicate copies of your desired games. Once you pile up your computer with a back up of your favorite ones you can enjoy the world of gaming without any fear in your mind. The best way to put a smile on your kids face is by copy games and put it on for them whenever they wish to play. 

A quick recap, copy games is absolutely necessary as they help to retrieve your loved games even if the original version is destroyed. Do not wait for another day, start storing your games today itself.