A guide to help parents of teens give children support to get the best out of their online gaming experience.
Take a look at the tips to see what you need to think about before they start, what conversations to have and things you can practically do to keep them safe on the platforms and devices they use.
How they should balance screen time and offline activities
Talk about the importance of prioritising offline activities like sleep, socialising with friends and school work to help them strike the right balance when it comes to gaming.
Be aware of Let’s Play videos
As well as playing games, children also watch others play through streams and videos online. These videos can be unpredictable and may contain offensive language so it may be a good idea to watch a couple with them to assess whether they are suitable.
Know your PEGI ratings
As teens get older it can be tempting to let them play games which may not be age appropriate but it’s important to make them aware of why they may not be ready to play these games due to themes expressed in the game.
Talk about gaming risks:
Keeping personal information private to stop strangers from contacting them outside of the game
Being aware that not everyone online is who they say they are
Encourage them to seek support when they need it
Let them know that they can talk to you, a trusted adult, or childline if they run into any issues online
Share Stop, Speak, Support code
To help them tackle the issue of cyberbullying in gaming, share the Stop, Speak, Support code with them to help them know what steps to take to support someone who is being cyberbullied.
Discuss their understanding of themes in games
It’s important to talk about the tricky themes that are featured in games like violence, sex and gender representation, to make sure they have a real-world view when it comes to their understanding.
Taking breaks to stay safe
Encourage them to take breaks after 45 minutes of playing to help them develop good online habits.
Model good behaviour
If you game yourself, you can model healthy gaming habits.
Put a family agreement in place
Even as they get more proficient online, teens need boundaries. Work together to establish what games they can play and when to help them develop good online habits.
Teach them how to set privacy settings and block abuse
Review the privacy settings they have on their account and show them how to block or report an issue on the games they play.
Encourage them to game in communal areas of the house
Keeping gameplay in a place where you can hear and see what they are doing can help you stay engaged in what they are doing and prompt you to step when there is a concern.
See related advice and practical tips to support children online: