Online gaming

Online games can be great fun for your child, but make sure you can help them manage the risks.

What are the benefits and risks?

Many games can improve your child’s coordination, problem-solving and multi-tasking skills, as well as help build social skills through online interactivity with other players. But it is important to understand what might go wrong.

Risks of online gaming include

  • spending too much time gaming, which can have negative impacts on your child’s health, ability to study, and social and emotional wellbeing
  • bullying and grooming through online or in-game chat
  • games with gambling-like elements can normalise
  • costs of in-game spending

How to create a safer gaming environment for your child

  • Prepare — locate the computer or games console in an open area of your home and use available parental controls and safety features for devices, browsers and apps.
  • Build good habits — help your child protect their personal information by using a screen name that does not reveal their real name. Teach them not to click on links provided by strangers, like ‘cheat’ programs to help with game play, which can contain viruses or malware.
  • Agree on strategies to help them switch off — like a timer that signals game time is nearly over, with consequences for not switching off.
  • Stay involved — talk regularly with your child about their gaming interests and who they play with online. Play alongside your child to get a better sense of how they are handling their personal information and who they are communicating with.
  • Be aware of what they are playing — games vary in their level of violent or sexual content, and may contain themes, language and images that are unsuitable for your child.
  • Empower your child — wherever possible, help them make wise decisions for themselves, rather than tell them what to do. Try to provide them with strategies for dealing with negative online experiences that will build their confidence and resilience.

This material has been adapted with permission from the Australian Government eSafety Commissioner. Permission to adapt content does not constitute endorsement of material by the eSafety Commissioner.