Parent Guides to Games
The world of gaming has grown significantly over the past few years, and over lockdown in particular. In 2020, 3 quarters of 5-15 year old's played games online (Ofcom, 2021). Games vary in genre and type, and can be played on most electronic devices. Whilst many young people enjoy playing games, the average age of gamers are over 30 years old, meaning that the average age group that young people communicate with fall into the over 30 category. Many young people will also be playing games with content unsuitable for their age group - Pegi ratings are only legal requirements for 12, 16 and 18 games.
Many games have content and features that is designed to entice players back, such as levels, features to unlock, items to collect, and rankings etc. which can make games addictive. The YoungMinds website has some brilliant information about supporting your child with gaming. Games may feature in-app/in-game purchases in order to upgrade certain things or purchase things virtually. Some games will also require users to fill in personal information about themselves in order to unlock features.
It is also important to know that in a similar way to social media, your child can communicate with other people whilst playing a game. Some games have built in chat features, and others make use of external applications. Some chat features are anonymous, or by username, whereas others require users to have an account. Some apps and games are now working to making these chatrooms safer places to be, with features such as reporting users, blocking users etc.
Click on the links below to learn more about specific games, search for parent reviews and read about the content, game play, chat features, age rating etc. There are also links to mental health and well being sites if you or your child is concerned about their screen time, or mental health in relation in gaming or being online.