Online gaming can be a fun and positive experience, especially if it is done in moderation and with some solid strategies for managing negative experiences.
Is gaming having a negative impact on your life?
In moderation, gaming is a great way to relax and kick back with friends online. Many online games are designed to keep you playing for as long as possible, so it can be hard to stop playing once you start.
Here are some signs you might be spending too much time gaming:
- Are you playing online games late at night?
- Are you finding it really hard to get to sleep at night because your mind is still buzzing?
- Are you not getting your school work and assignments done, but still spending lots of time gaming?
- Do you get really angry or worked up about losing and often shout or throw things while playing?
- Do you get really annoyed when anyone interrupts you when you are gaming?
- Do you find it hard to concentrate when you are not gaming?
- Do you push friends or family away or try to get out of social commitments, so you can spend more time online?
- Are you not getting enough exercise because you are spending so much time gaming?
If you answered yes to any of these points, you could be spending too much time playing online games. Talk to someone you trust about how to reduce your playing time, or set some rules for yourself and try to stick to them. You can also read more about how to reduce the time you spend online.
Have you tried to reduce the amount of time you spend online gaming, but haven’t had any luck? Or do people think your online gaming is a problem, but you don’t? Talk to someone and get some help and support.
Are you getting harassed by others while gaming?
It can be an amazing experience to interact with other players online but if another player is being inappropriate, bullying or harassing you, here are some steps you can take. You can also read about unwanted contact and signs to look out for.
Many online ‘trolls’ usually just want to get a reaction out of you, so the best thing you can do is not respond. Don’t let them take up any of your precious game time!
Block or report them in the game
If someone is persistently contacting you and you don’t want them to, you can block or report them. Most online games have the ability to block and report other players. If you can’t work out how to do it, search the game online and there should be instructions. You can also look for the game in the eSafety Guide, which includes links on how to report and block.
Change your settings
Change your settings to prevent a stranger harassing you or being inappropriate in the future. Search the eSafety Guide to see how you can change your settings in different online games to protect yourself from being contacted by strangers while playing. If the particular game you’re playing isn’t there, search online for how to update your privacy settings.
Talk to someone about it
Make sure you talk to people you trust and get support from your friends or your parent or carer. There are also specialist online counselling services with trained professionals who are ready to hear you out.