What Should I Look for When Choosing a PC Game for Kids?

A game must be good for your child to enjoy and learn from it. Here are some pointers to help you make the right choices.

Think amusement first. Remember that at this age, effective learning is often indistinguishable from unadulterated fun. Kids are focused on having a good time, not on meeting adults’ educational expectations.

Do your homework. Before you buy software, download an app, or launch an online game, make sure it’s age-appropriate. Check websites such as Common Sense Media to read reviews and ratings by other users.

Choose games that allow more than one person to play at a time and reward interaction. Some of the best games for this age group are those you and your child can enjoy together.

Look for games that let kids “accidentally succeed.” In other words, the computer doesn’t demand a precise response to move the game along, but provides instant feedback to keep a child engaged.

What you don’t want is long stretches of uninterrupted animation. Choose games that are easy for kids to control and continue to be challenging as a child becomes more adept.

Restrict online access. Letting children go online risks exposing them to inappropriate content and contact with strangers. Before handing over your smartphone or tablet to your child, take steps to block or limit online access. If your child is playing games online, stay close by and supervise her activity.

Besides supervising your child online, you also may want to filter or block certain material. Options include setting parental controls to filter specific sites, using software to manage or block content, and using software that secures a ‘safe zone’ for kids.

Be wary of in-app purchases. Even free apps can cost you a fortune if your child starts making in-app purchases accidentally. Change the settings on your mobile device to require a password or even block in-app purchases completely.

Don’t assume that a licensed software program is as good as the book, TV, or movie version. Buckleitner warns that dozens of companies create programs using the same licensed characters and the quality can vary significantly.

If you own a color printer, take precautions before your child prints a costly pile of full-color web pages. Set your printer’s default setting to black-and-white, remove blank paper from the tray, or simply turn the printer off.

Check whether you can return the software — if not for a full refund, then at least for a store credit. You may fire up the computer only to realize that you don’t have the right high-speed graphics card, or that it’s a poor fit for your child. Apps may be nonrefundable.

Avoid impulse buys and check the release date. If a game or program is more than two years old, it may be light years behind rapid advances in technology.

Tips for Choosing the Right Graphics Card for Gamers

If you’re trying to build a new computer, or simply looking to upgrade your current configuration for gaming, you’ll eventually want to get a graphics card. Let’s take a look at a few on how to choose a new graphics cards that would be ideal for gaming.

Not all gamers can throw down $500 for the latest and best GPU. In fact, thanks to the triple-whammy effect of the global slowdown, jaded gamers and gaming consoles, the market for high-end cards has collapsed spectacularly over the past few years.

Enter the frugal gamer. This is someone who wants to be able to play the latest games on his or her PC but doesn’t want to have to be a bank robber to do it. They will have a middle or the road PC, aren’t concerned with frames per second or having all the detail in the game turned up to 11. They just want to play games.

When the game Crysis was releases, there was a feeling in the gaming community that things had gone too far. Here was a game that pushed the envelope of technology way too far, so far in fact that at the time that the game was released there wasn’t a graphics card yet in existence that did the game justice.

But since Crysis things have calmed down a bit. Not only have game developers realized that in order to make money from games, people would like them to run on existing hardware (modest hardware if possible), but GPUs have come along a lot too.

The frugal gamer can equip their PC with a $100 graphics card and should be able to throw any game at the card and get an acceptable result. Good cards to choose might be from the Radeon HD 5670 range or GeForce GT 240.

For high-end gaming, this is for all you high-end gamers out there. Here are some cards for you to drool over:

– SAPPHIRE 100280-4GBB Radeon HD 5970 4GB
– XFX HD-597A-CNB9 Radeon HD 5970 Black Edition 2GB
– GIGABYTE GV-R597D5-2GD-B Radeon HD 5970 2GB
– EVGA 015-P3-1485-AR GeForce GTX 480 SuperClocked+ 1536MB
– PNY XLR8 VCGGTX480XPB GeForce GTX 480 1536MB