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Safer Internet Day 2018 - Create, Connect and Share Respect

The games industry takes its responsibility for online safety seriously at all levels – from game features, to device level, to employing teams of moderators, to content ratings and information to developing cutting edge and innovative solutions.

Today, on Safer Internet Day 2018, the teams at AskAboutGames wants to remind you of some of the best ways to ensure you’re staying safe while playing and tell you a little more about the ways the games industry is leading the charge in online safety.

AskAboutGames' top tips for staying safe online: For players:

  • Consciously make a positive difference in your online behaviour. Be respectful and seek out positive opportunities to connect with others.
  • Report inappropriate or illegal behaviour from others.
  • Protect personal information in games
For parents:

  • Bond with your children over games – find out what games they’re playing and play games with them
  • Most games have a PEGI age rating with age descriptors depending on different kinds of content (violence, bad language, drugs etc.) – use these as guidelines when deciding the suitability of a game for your child.
  • Talk to your child about who they play with online, who they meet and talk to and what kind of language is being used in live chat (messaging or chat via headphones)
  • Many games have parental controls - In addition to clear age rating symbols and descriptor icons, all of today's consoles offer parental controls which can be used to restrict the amount of time spent playing games, limit internet access and allow control of access to age appropriate content.
  • Have a clear list of games at home that are appropriate to play and aren’t appropriate to play and make sure your children understand why some are allowed and some aren’t.
  • Make sure your children know how to protect themselves and remind them not to share personal information with people they don’t know.
  • Encourage your children to take regular breaks – at least 5 minutes every 45-60 minutes.
  • Use com resources to help navigate these issues.
What is the games industry doing to make online gaming safer?

The games industry leads the charge on online safety, using a combination of skilled community managers and cutting-edge technological solutions to help consumers stay safe online. Games companies monitor in game chat to pick out potentially abusive activity, often with players own preferences taken into account about the kind of content they’re comfortable encountering. Community managers are there to identify warning signs in game play and the sector collaborates with charities to ensure vulnerable people are able to access any support they may require.

The benefits of playing games

Games are great fun across a broad range of genres and platforms. They offer players of all ages many benefits such as stimulating creativity, engaging the imagination, developing social and collaborative skills and improving strategic thinking. They can also be used to learn about sophisticated experiences that teach key STEM subjects like science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Safer Internet Day is organised by the joint Insafe/INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission, each February to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology, especially among children and young people. Safer Internet Day aims to not only create a safer internet but also a better internet, where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. A better internet starts with you.
Avatar for Andrew Robertson
Andrew Robertson
Andy Robertson is the editor of AskAboutGames and has written for national press and broadcast about video games and families for over 15 years. He has just published the Taming Gaming book with its Family Video Game Database.