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It used to be as simple as saying the kids were “playing Nintendo.” But as the video game industry continues to expand via online play and smartphones, how can a responsible parent keep up? Tech expert — and doting dad — Scott Steinberg throws families an extra life in The Modern Parent’s Guide to Kids and Video Games. Start with these tips from the book, then grab the full version online, available free at www.parentsguidebooks.com.

Ticktock
“Most experts agree that setting limits on all screen time is important for healthy development,” Steinberg says. Stick to roughly an hour of gaming per day.

Read the box
When checking a game’s Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating, always look at the back of the box for more specific information about why it earned a particular designation.

Hold the cord
Almost two-thirds of kids who game online report having had at least one negative experience. By joining in and showing a vested interest, parents can steer children away from rude gamers and set a more positive example.