There's no doubt that teens enjoy playing electronic games, whether it's on a video game console or computer. While you want to let your teen have some independence and make his own choices about what games to play, you also want to make sure you're choosing the best ones for him. Understanding the types of games on the market and how they support development or entertainment helps you assist your teen in finding electronic games that work for him.
Yes, your teen is much more mature than he was as a first grader and it's likely appropriate to let him play games you wouldn't dream of letting a 6-year-old play. However, it's important to understand why a game is rated the way it is. Games are each rated based on content, and the rating and the reasons why the game received it are typically right on the package so you can read about the game before renting or buying it. A game rated for teens might make you more comfortable than one that has mature content.
There is a lot to be said for playing video games just for their entertainment value. While this is perfectly fine sometimes, choosing games that offer some type of educational benefit are good ones to add to your best electronic games list. Games that let your teen create a world of his own, implement strategy, build skills he's working on in the classroom and that teach him new skills are ideal options. While your teen should have limits regarding screen time, the best video games help with hand-eye coordination, problem solving and information processing, notes KidsHealth.
KidsHealth advocates a variety of electronic games for teens. Mixing strategy or math games with those that require him to get up and move can help him get the most benefit from his gaming habit. Physical games have the added benefit of helping your teen get up and moving rather than sitting in a video game coma for hours at a time. Dancing games, sports emulation games and exercise-specific games are available for many gaming consoles.
Many entities have individual lists of the best gaming titles. Compiling these lists helps you choose the best electronic games for your teen. The Wii Party game is recommended by CNN as a fun game for groups, such as when your teen has his friends over after soccer practice. Ankarino Lara of Gamespot.com suggests Paper Mario, Burnout 3, Rome: Total War and Jak 3 for kids ages 13 to 16. "Family Circle" magazine ranks Civilization Revolution, Crush and Legend of Zelda as its top educational picks.