Games and apps can be a positive part of family life. Communication tools such as WhatsApp and Instagram can help your child stay in touch with friends and family. Some games can help develop self-understanding, allowing your child to work with other players and practise empathy for the characters.
But it’s also helpful to know the risks, and what you can do to help your child engage in a way that’s safe.
You may not feel comfortable with all the games and apps that appeal to your child. Popular games that some parents have concerns about include:
Many games and apps have chat or messaging functions. Try to be aware of who your child is communicating with online, and who might be able to see their profiles and posts.
Online gaming and streaming platforms such as Discord, Twitch and Xbox Live can have risks if your child is playing with people they don’t know in real life.
Apps where your child may be contacted by others include:
Many games and apps include purchases. These can be upgrades, ad blockers or extra in-game currency that improves game play. It’s important to be aware of these and talk to your child about the fact that these in-game or in-app purchases cost real money.
Make sure that your child is playing age-appropriate games and apps. It can help to understand the different age restrictions and content warnings. These allow you to see what’s appropriate for your child.
Common Sense Media offers independent reviews on games and apps. Note that you can read up to three reviews before you have to pay.
We have some advice on keeping your child safe when using apps or playing games.
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