5 tips to create a safe gaming environment for your child
Many games may contain themes, language and images that are unsuitable for your child and vary in their levels of violent or sexual content. You can check the age guidelines and classification of individual games through information available on its website or product box or at the Australian Classification Board.
Talk regularly with your child about their gaming interests and who they play with online. Help them understand the risks of excessive gaming.
Play alongside your child to get a better sense of how they are handling their personal information and who they are communicating with.
Use available parental controls and establish rules well in advance about gaming use, including time limits, personal information they should not share and designate where they can play. Get your child to use a screen name that doesn’t reveal their real name and locate the computer or games console in an open area of your home (or if they are playing on their hand held device get them to do it in the family room).
Agree on strategies for them to switch off, like a timer that signals that game time is nearly over, and the consequences for not switching off.
Install current security software on all devices to protect against viruses, malware and other online threats, and teach your kids not to click on links provided by strangers, like cheat programs to help with game play.
Activate parental controls and settings to restrict access to certain sites and content and to help prevent any excessive spending on in-game and in-app purchases.
Monitor the time your child spends online and keep a look out for any changes in your child’s activity, school or social behaviours.
Encourage your child to tell you if they are being cyberbullied or if another user is making them uncomfortable – they can ‘block’ players or report any threatening or suspicious behaviour to the game’s administrators. If you suspect your child is being groomed online by a stranger, you can report this to the Australian Federal Police on the Child exploitation form.
Provide your child with strategies to deal with negative online experiences. Our Young & eSafe site is a good starting point as it helps empower young people to take control of their online experiences. It includes real life stories from young people and expert advice and tips on how to make a positive impact in their online world.