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As with many things in family life, when video game consoles are new they get a lot of attention. We consider how best to use them and get good value for the family. It’s important to keep these up to date as the family’s needs mature.

If you purchased a new console in your family this year, the summer holidays are a great moment to revisit the family settings as well as games you may have purchased but not have completed (or maybe not even started).

Games You Already Own

It’s easy to forget about what we’ve purchased and miss out on getting the full value. With more leisure time in the family, summer is a great time to revisit your game library and rediscover those titles you haven’t finished.

For example, a great game that many families got when purchasing a PlayStation 5 is Astro’s Playroom. This is something of a demonstration of the new DualSense controller that comes with the console. But also it’s a really good game that’s worth playing all the way through. Before spending on new experiences visit your game library and see what titles you may not have finished yet that could be ideal for the school holidays.

Other games that readers of the database have enjoyed in a family include:

Curating Play Time

While you are in the settings of your console it’s a good moment to check that the family settings are still at the right level for your children.

These settings enable you to customise some really useful aspects of how they play. For older children you might want to do this with them, to agree on what you both think is healthy so the settings are something they embrace rather than resist. I always encourage having a conversation with your children, so you can learn from them what they want to get out of their gaming experience and at the same time set parameters for your household. Together as a family, we usually look at:

  • Limiting games by age rating
  • Limiting playtime
  • Limiting spending and allot pocket money

Privacy and Security

Of course, many children will use video games to stay in touch with school friends over the summer. Ensuring their console is set-up for them to do this safely is important as well. This is a good chance to also consider how your child’s data is being used online. Sounds a little bewildering, I know, but this video helped me see the wood from the trees.

In my family, we spent some time working through the Privacy, Account Security, and Online Safety Hub. Before doing this I had thought this was already set-up how I wanted it. But there were a few areas I was pleased to revisit (now that my kids are older) and tweak settings.

Some things we did was to tighten up who the kids want to make friends with and message. They have a long list of friends on PlayStation so we set it to only enable “Close Friends” to be able to see their name and activity.

We also tweaked the chat settings. Here I decided to enable them to create Parties with Messaging. I prefer them to play here rather than migrating to other messaging apps that I then need to manage separately.

Once this was all set-up I applied two-step verification for greater security. This does mean they sometimes need to ask me for a code to log-in but I quite like it. Not only is it safer, but it means I can check in with them if they are logging into a new device, or when at a friend’s house.

School’s Out

Taking a little time over the summer holidays to follow this advice means that you not only have a safe and secure play experience, but also ensure you get great value from the games you own.