Consumer Reports: Why parents should play video games with their kids

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Kids spend a lot of time playing video games and parents spend a lot of time worrying about how much time their kid plays video games. (WLS)

Kids spend a lot of time playing video games and parents spend a lot of time worrying about how much time their kid plays video games. But Consumer Reports says rather than constantly telling your child to put their tablet down, get in the game and use it as a way to power up communication.

Brynn Davis, 7, would like to teach her mom how to play her favorite video game.

"So she can play a game with me and we could have lots of fun," she said.

She's onto something. Consumer Reports Electronics Editor Bree Fowler said rather than try to pull the plug on your kid's interest in gaming, sit down and play with them, like you'd play a board game or play catch outside.

Fowler said parents often get hung up on whether a game is "educational." But many games can be used to teach valuable lessons.

"Especially the role-playing games. (They're) all about problem solving and about making decisions," Fowler said.

Arizona State University's Center for Games and Impact agrees, claiming well-crafted video games foster "critical skills necessary for navigating an interconnected, rapidly changing 21st Century world."

Alayna Davis, finds this to be true. She said the games her kids play are interactive, allowing them to play with each other or play with their friends remotely.

"You're still reaching out and forming relationships through those games as well," Davis said.

With a new baby, she doesn't get to play along much. But she does keep a close eye, asking questions along the way.

"It sparks the conversation that can lead into more, you know, just communication with your kids," Davis said.

"You can ask question about why does the character go there, why is it important to pick up these power ups. Kids love to explain, they love to teach and they love to feel like you respect them as an intelligent person," Fowler said.

Of course, even if you are playing with your kids, you still want to monitor the amount of screen time they're getting and make sure the content is age appropriate.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org

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