Online gaming

Online games are popular with children of all ages. Games can be educational or purely for fun. Some games allow interactivity with other players online, some have high levels of violent or sexual content. Check the age guidelines and ratings to help guide your child's online game use. Some online games encourage team work and interaction with others online. This can include adults.

Overall, children and young people will be best protected if they keep their personal information to themselves in online games and don’t engage in personal conversations.

If children are using sites that enable direct interaction with others, it is a good idea for you to supervise their interactions and to establish rules about the information they are allowed to share with others. Setting rules about what to do if they encounter disturbing content or contact from others is also useful.

Online gambling

In a world with limitless online possibilities for entertainment, young people can stumble across and engage in online gambling through online games. Applications on social media sites often require users to purchase credits to play games, access special features and give virtual gifts. It’s important that children understand the differences between simple gaming and that of gambling online.
Gambling in games is very risky for young people, and can interfere with their schooling and social life.

What are the risks?

The risks of online games should be understood by anyone who enjoys them.
These include:

  • risks from social interactions with strangers
  • risks from computer intruders exploiting security vulnerabilities
  • risks from online and real-world predators
  • risks from viruses and spyware.

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Girl and mother playing a game on the couch

[AFK = Away From Keyboard]

How can I support my child online?

  • Help your child understand the risks of excessive gaming and gambling in online games.
  • Keep a look-out for changes in your child’s activity, school or social behaviours and talk to them if you have concerns.
  • Encourage your child to keep personal information to themselves and not to engage in personal conversations in online games.
  • Supervise your child’s interactions if they are using sites that enable direct interaction with others.
  • Establish rules about the information they are allowed to share with others and about what to do if they encounter disturbing content or contact from others.
  • Avoid gambling activities as a family and do not gamble in front of your children.
  • Keep the computer in a living room and limit private internet activity.

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