Most kids love playing games. As your child enters their teens, they may want to try more challenging games and play with others online.
It’s natural to have concerns about what your child gets up to online, with everything from which games are age-appropriate to who they’re chatting to. So before you buy a new console, it’s worth checking out the privacy settings and games that they might come into contact with.
Here’s what you need to know about helping younger teenagers stay safe when gaming – especially if you’re not a gamer yourself.
1. Choose age-appropriate games
In the UK, all boxed games have to have a PEGI (Pan European Game Information) rating. This is similar to film classification ratings and tells you what ages a game is deemed suitable for and any disturbing content it may contain.
You can find out more the PEGI rating system and content descriptions on the PEGI website. The PEGI rating only considers the suitability of the content for different ages – it doesn’t reflect the difficulty or skill level of the game.
PEGI ratings are just guidelines and you know best how sensitive or mature your child is. Just because “all their friends are playing it”, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for your child.The good news is that there are lots of challenging games at all age ratings. Bundled game packs such as this Xbox One S with Minecraft (PEGI 7 rating) or other games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PEGI 16 rating) are great value options.
2. Set up parental controls
If you’re not a techy person, the thought of setting up parental controls on your child’s console may be daunting. But there are lots of step by step guides which make the process easy.
You can use parental controls to:
- Restrict access to games and content with a specific age rating
- Limit social interaction online, i.e. who they can add as friends or message
- Control what apps and games can be downloaded
- Prevent unauthorized in-game purchases
- Restrict how long your child can play games for and what times of day they’re allowed to play
You can find step by step guides to setting up parental controls on gaming consoles and other online entertainment platforms by Internet Matters here.
3. Be open and honest
We've partnered with child internet safety charity Internet Matters to help guide parents on how to protect their child online. They suggest that parents should talk to their child about the risks and making sure they know how to report abuse and block people online.
One of the best ways to be sure what your child’s playing, is to join in. There’s a huge range of accessories available for both PC gaming and console gaming to allow the whole family to play against each other.
Currys PC World are proud supporters of Internet Matters, an organisation committed to helping parents keep their children safe online. Internet Matters offer the best advice and information available to parents, to make their children’s online life fulfilling, fun and above all safe.
Visit: https://www.internetmatters.org/ for more information.
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