Get tips and advice to help young people get the best out of their gaming experience during UK lockdown.
Gaming is a great source of enjoyment, creativity, and skills development for children. It can provide families with a raft of enjoyable shared experiences.
While there are some risks associated with gaming, making use of controls and settings available, combined with ongoing conversations and engagement, children and young people can safely enjoy all the experiences it offers.
Talk about the importance of prioritising offline activities like education, shared family activities, and sleep to help strike the right balance when it comes to gaming. Encourage your children and young people to take regular breaks to help maintain a healthy screen time balance. If you game yourself, you can model healthy gaming habits.
Understanding PEGI ratings enables parents and guardians to make informed choices about the games they allow their children play. The PEGI rating on a game confirms that content is suitable for a certain age group and above.
Games with violent, sexual content or other adult/mature themes will have a higher rating. These ratings don’t consider communication features, so a game with a low age rating may enable strangers to contact children and young people.
Keeping gameplay in a place where you can hear and see what your children are doing can help you stay engaged in
what they are doing and prompt you to support them when there is a concern.
Make the best use of parental controls and privacy settings to manage the gaming experience. Make sure they know
how to report and block abuse. Set up a safe user profile that doesn’t give away personal information, and ensure
you are using controls to manage any in-game purchases.
As well as playing themselves, children and young people also watch other gamers on videos sharing sites online. Check out the gamers and channels your child watches as the content and commentary may contain offensive language, violent, sexual or other adult/mature themes in the videos or the comments sections.
There are several platforms where young people can watch and interact live with gamers broadcasting their gaming, and even broadcast themselves. As these are real-time there is a pretty good chance that they will contain offensive language and adult themes, plus there is the opportunity to chat with those watching the streams.
Online gaming is now more accessible and social than ever. With the rise of multiplayer games alongside social networking in gaming, children and young people can not only speak to friends and family but also connect with people they may not know while they’re gaming.
Make full use of privacy settings to manage who your child can communicate and game with online. These controls aren’t a substitute for parental involvement, so it is important to keep talking to your child about online safety and how to deal with anything that upsets them or makes them feel unsafe.
Keep talking and stay engaged It is important to talk to your child regularly about what they’re doing online and make sure they know what they can do to keep themselves safe. Let them know they can come to you or another trusted adult if they’re feeling worried, pressured, upset, or unsafe. Children and young people can also contact or ChildLine for support and advice.
See related advice and practical tips to support children online: