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.
While gaming consoles themselves do not have a recommended age range, it’s wise to check the classification, a review site and The eSafety Guide 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.