Online Gaming Safety Tips

It's no secret that young people love online gaming and there is something out there for everyone to enjoy.

Online gaming safety tips

According to the Ofcom Online Nation Report 22, 91% of 3-15 year olds reported playing games on console, desktop or smartphone devices either online or offline.

Online gaming can be a great way for kids to have fun and connect with their friends and family at any time. However, online gaming does come with risks that both children and parents need to be aware of.

What are the risks of online gaming?

Some of the risks associated with online gaming include:

  • gaming addiction
  • online predators
  • bullying and online harassment
  • hackers and viruses
  • excessive app purchases
  • inappropriate or upsetting content

There are some warning signs that may indicate your child is facing risks related to gaming. These signs include attempting to conceal in-game conversations, exhibiting extreme emotional reactions such as lashing out or withdrawing, unusual credit card charges, sleep disturbances, using inappropriate language or getting into trouble at school.

It is important to pay attention to these signs and address any concerns with your child.

How can I keep my child safe online?

The initial step is to talk to your child, informing them about online gaming risks and the specific limits you’re establishing to ensure their safety.

Boundaries to ensure safe online gameplay include:

  • parental controls
  • family safety apps that can monitor in-app game conversations (over text and voice) and warn you if your child is being bullied, harassed or targeted
  • use content filters to block inappropriate content
  • create secure, shared family passwords
  • don’t let gaming platforms save your card information
  • make sure personal information isn’t publicly visible to others
  • set clear time limits

Regularly monitoring your child’s gaming activities. Sitting down and playing together or watching their interactions are the best ways to ensure they are engaging in safe and appropriate gameplay.

How to decide if an online game is safe

Check the game for age ratings, in-game chat and communication features may contain violence and explicit language warnings.

Many games have educational content or offer modes that disable explicit material. You can check the online reviews of a game or seek recommendations from friends and family.

By considering these factors you can make informed decisions about whether an online game is safe for your child. Keep in mind that safety measures can change over time, so it’s good practice to periodically reassess the game’s safety features and your own experiences while playing or allowing your child to play online.

Ofcom statistics

Over six in ten (63%) children aged 8-15 who go online said they would always tell someone if they saw something ‘worrying or nasty’ online; 88% of these said they would tell a parent.

A third (34%) of children aged 8-15 who go online said they had seen something ‘worrying or nasty’ online in the past 12 months, and one in five (21%) parents of this age group said that their child had told them about something they had seen online which had scared or upset them.

Among children aged 8-15 who have experienced bullying, more than 8 in ten (83%) had experienced it through a communications device such as a phone or laptop, compared to 60% being bullied face-to-face.

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