Tips on how to stay safe online during the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 Alert

Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) it may take longer than usual to address all reports or enquiries made with our investigation teams.

Please continue to submit reports and we will review them as soon as possible.

If you are worried about your safety or are at risk of harm right now contact police immediately by calling Triple Zero (000).

If you need someone to talk to and are under 25, contact Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800).
For all other ages, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Gaming

Online gaming is incredibly popular with young people — gaming consoles, along with multiplayer platforms such as Steam are a staple in many kids’ lives, to entertain, interact and collaborate with players all over the globe.

Online gaming can facilitate many positive experiences including improving your child’s coordination, problem-solving and multi-tasking skills but it’s also important to be aware of some of the potential risks.

Age guide

While gaming consoles themselves do not have a recommended age range, it’s wise to check the classification of a game or a review site to see if a game is suitable for your kids.

What to look out for

  • Most modern gaming consoles can be connected to the internet.
  • Online multiplayer games connect players across the globe. It’s important to be aware that anyone can chat with your children while playing these games.
  • Most games carry a classification and each game will have warnings about the themes, violence and/or coarse language to which your children may be exposed. Make sure you read reviews before deciding which games are appropriate (or not) for your children.

How to stay safe

  • Many gaming consoles come with built in parental controls that enable parents to decide what content their children can access and which functions that they are able to use.
  • Most games have functionality that allows you to block or report other users who are behaving in an aggressive or antisocial way. Make sure you are aware of how to do this for each game your child is playing.
  • Establish rules with your children around gaming use including time limits and personal information shared.
  • Get involved — play the game yourself!
  • Remain engaged in your child’s online lives and let them know you’ll be there to support them if something goes wrong online.