Gaming is loved and enjoyed by children and adults across the world. It can be a way for children to be social, learn new skills, develop team work and relax. However, gaming also comes with risks for children. It can be difficult to keep up with the latest games and how they work. Here we take a look at key safety concerns and how you can support happier, safer gaming for your child.
Remember – If you are worried that a child is being groomed in a game, or on any other online platform you should seek support. You can contact your local police by calling 101. If you believe a child is in immediate danger call the police on 999.
If you would like to talk to a professional about any other online concerns, you can call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.
How can I make gaming safer for my child?
Talk with your child about gaming. Talk with your child to learn the games they like, what the content of those games are and what features the games have. This will help you to understand more about how your child plays games and how appropriate different games are. Once you know which games your child likes, you can use NSPCC’s Net Aware to search for apps and games to find out more about them and how safe they are.
Learn together. You can use our resources to teach your child about safer gaming at all ages. For primary age children you can use our Jessie & Friends (ages 4-7) and Play, Like, Share (ages 8-10) resources. Secondary age children can access advice about gaming through the Thinkuknow website, as well as through on-going conversations with you.
Set boundaries and safety settings. Internet Matters make it easier to put safety settings in place, providing step-by-step guides for each console or device. Spend time setting these up with your child and make sure they know how to block and report on the games they are playing. You should also talk with your child to create an agreement for gaming; think about how much time they can spend, which games they can access, if you will allow in-app purchases and what spaces they can play in. For primary aged children it is advisable to have them play in shared spaces/the same room as you.