Online games are games that are played over a computer network, usually the internet. They can be played on computers, mobile devices and specialised gaming consoles. Online games range in complexity from simple text-based environments to realistic first-person shooter games and virtual worlds. The online components within games also vary from being minor features, such as an online leaderboard, to being part of core gameplay, such as in multiplayer games that can involve hundreds or thousands of players.

What are the benefits?

  • Entertainment and fun 
    Online gaming can be immensely exciting, entertaining and fun for both children and adults.
  • Meet new people and expand your social network  
    You can make new friends and meet new people in multiplayer games.
  • Improved problem-solving skills 
    Research has shown that some games can improve your problem-solving skills and enhance your short-term memory.
  • Improved coordination 
    Some games may be able to improve your coordination, as players need to coordinate visual and audial cues and physical movement.

What are the risks?

  • Cyberbullying or online abuse 
    Multiplayer games put you at risk of cyberbullying or online abuse. The abuse may occur via online messaging, voice-chat or video calling during gameplay. 
  • Unwanted contact and grooming 
    Adults may receive unwanted contact from other players and children could be contacted by online abusers in multiplayer games.
  • Spending too much time online 
    You can spend so much time gaming that it impacts on your ability to socialise, study or work.
  • In-app purchasing, debt and gambling addiction 
    Many games allow you to buy things during gameplay — some games allow you to bet real money and could contribute to gambling addiction

You can view gaming services in the eSafety guide.