Australian experts recommend less than two hours a day of entertainment screen time for children aged 5 to 17 years. Many young people spend a lot more than two hours a day online.
You have a key role in helping your child manage their online time and in monitoring any impacts in their everyday life. Look out for signs like:
In some cases, setting firm limits as a family may be enough to help address too much gaming. But in other cases, there may be underlying issues like depression and anxiety that are linked to problematic internet use. If you’re worried that gaming is taking over your child’s life, seek professional advice from your GP, a trained psychologist or the school counsellor.
You can also access advice and help from:
Some online games encourage team work and interaction with others, including adults. Players can usually communicate with each other by:
With most games you can choose to restrict chat features through parental controls. You can also activate privacy settings, and make sure these settings are password protected.
If your child is communicating with others during play, supervise their communication and establish rules about the information they share.
While many gaming environments are moderated, some are not, which can place your child at risk of being in contact with adults that are looking to groom children and solicit personal information for the purpose of real life contact.
Help your child maintain a healthy level of anonymity by:
The interactive nature of online gaming means they can also be exposed to cyberbullying. If another player is behaving badly, harassing or bullying your child:
See our cyberbullying pages for more information on how to report cyberbullying and ways to talk to your child about this.
Additional costs can be incurred after purchase of an online game, such as the option to pay for extra content. To help control the costs of online games and apps you can: