Tips to keep kids safe while playing popular video games during holidays

School holidays will, for many children, signall more time on their video games. In addition to our suggestions on ways to help your children play more diverse experiences on their games consoles, here’s the low down on what millions will flock to this Easter.

Andy Robertson provides a parents’ guide to Roblox

Roblox 

PEGI 7

Roblox is an amateur game-maker/-player system for Xbox, PC, tablets, and smartphones. Although it looks visually unappealing compared to professionally made games, it attracts millions of young players to play online together because of its varied and unusual games its makers have created.

In the UK and Europe, PEGI rated Roblox as suitable for those 7 years and older for frequent scenes of mild violence and scenes which younger children may find frightening.

The Video Standards Council expanded on the PEGI rating by saying, “Violence is very mild and consists of blocky, action-figure and stick-like humanoid characters competing in various child-friendly games. Armed with fists, swords or guns they can hit each other until they fall apart and disappear. Blood and injuries are not depicted.”

Parents should watch out for user-created games that fall outside the ratings and do include more blood and violence than the rating suggests. Care is also warranted about friending other players who may be strangers of any age and can communicate with children in the game.

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This advice is taken from my Patreon project that provides weekly videos for parents to help them make informed decisions

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Andy Robertson offers advice for parents on Fortnite

Fortnite  

PEGI 12

Fortnite leapt to greater popularity with its Battle Royale mode that can be played for free and pits up to 100 players against each other while a mysterious cloud steadily reduces the size of the war zone, creating knife edge and climatic gun fights.

In the UK the Video Standards council rate Fortnite as PEGI 12 for frequent scenes of mild violence. It is not suitable for persons under 12 years of age. The VSC expand on the PEGI rating by stating that “Violence consists of you using whatever weapons you can find or make to fend off the monsters of the Storm and save the survivors. Damage is dealt by numbers and life bars and monsters disappear in a purple flash when defeated.”

Parents should be aware that children can talk to strangers in the game and that swearing and racists language do occur. Also, the sudden death can result in temper tantrums in younger competitors. Finally, care is warranted with any credit cards on the system as the game encourages children to purchase outfits and equipment for real money.

Parents should be aware of the online nature of the game and how players can interact with others. Overwatch’s comic strip look and feel is much less intense, action and excitement rather than gore and grit.

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Andy Robertson advice for parents on Overwatch game

Overwatch 

PEGI 12

Overwatch is a multiplayer shooting game in which two teams of six players compete to capture and defend various objectives. Set in the near future in exotice arenas around the world, Overwatch is notable for its clean, heroic aesthetic and its emphasis on accessibility and providing a level playing field for players of different ability and experience levels. Gameplay is online only, and there is no single player option.

In the UK and Europe, PEGI rates Overwatch as PEGI 12, suitable for ages 12 and up, for non realistic looking violence towards human characters.

The GRA expand on their PEGI details by saying Overwatch features ‘frequent scenes of mild violence’ and that ‘violence consists of human and fantasy characters attacking each other with a variety of weaponry.’ The GRA also states that ‘while blood is shown, there are no visible injury details and the violence itself is fairly mild.’

Parents should be aware of the online nature of the game and how players can interact with others. Overwatch’s comic strip look and feel is much less intense, action and excitement rather than gore and grit.

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Gaming rating guide – Call of Duty WWII

Call of Duty 

PEGI 18

Call of Duty: WWII is a first-person shooting game. The fourteenth in the popular series and is set during World War II, following battles on the Western Front. This mainly the historical events of the Battle of Normandy, the Allied operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II. Along with the story campaign there is a popular online multiplayer mode where players fight and talk to each other.

In the UK, PEGI rated Call of Duty WWII suitable for 18+ because it contained “extreme violence, violence towards defenceless people [and] strong language”. The VSC expanded on this by stating that it “contains depictions of battlefield injuries such as decapitation, dismemberment and mutilation.”

Parents should be aware that although it is popular with teenagers, this is a game designed for adults, not children. Players can chat to each other in the online modes and the story-line involves a lot of violence. On the PC version of the game you can disable the blood in the settings. You can also disable chat on consoles.

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