Advice for parents and carers

Games consoles

How to start a conversation with your child about gaming safely:

Why do you want to get a games console?

Whilst deciding if it is time for your child to have their first games console can be a great opportunity to find out what your child expects to use it for. This could be for playing online, playing with siblings or friends, or for playing by themselves.

What do you like about your games console? What is your favourite game?

If your child already has a games console, you can ask them about their favourite things to play, you can ask them to teach you to play the game and explore the ways to report and block players or content whilst playing together.

What game do you really want to play?

When talking about games your child wants to play, you can take a moment to discuss age ratings and what different content is available on different games. This can be a good opportunity to discuss your expectations around the games that your child can and can’t play.

How do young people your age use their games console?

Learning about the way that young people are using devices and games can give you a insight into wh yyour child may want a new game or console.

How can we as a family help you to manage the time you spend gaming? Can we do anything to help you use the games console more safely?

Finding out how your child wants to be supported whilst online is a great way to open up wider conversations around online safety and the issues young people may face whilst gaming. You can also look at establishing a family agreement to manage your families time online.

What would you do if something worrying or upsetting happened on your games console?

Tell your child what they should do if something goes wrong while using it. This could be to close the screen and tell an adult. See below for conversation starter ideas.

Top tips:

Talk with your child about responsible use of their games console

Discuss what is okay and not okay to use it for and look at the possible risks. Tell your child what they should do if something goes wrong while using it. This could be to turn off the screen and tell an adult.

Think about the location of the games console

Will it be in a shared family space or in a bedroom? Think about: setting time limits; reminding your child about the risks of communicating online with people that they do not know; and encouraging them to come to you with any worries.

Explore parental controls

Take a look at the controls available both on the games console itself and on your home Wi-Fi. Talk these through with your child too. Parental controls are a helpful tool, but an open conversation with your child is the most important thing.

FAQ’s about games consoles

What can I do if something goes wrong?

Reassure your child they have done the right thing by telling you and that you are there to listen and help. Try to remain calm and non-judgemental, to help your child feel comfortable in telling you how the issue happened.

Work with your child to report or block any unacceptable behaviour or other users. Contact your child’s school for further support, particularly if it involves cyberbullying between classmates or inappropriate contact from an adult. If you suspect that your child is or has been the subject of inappropriate sexual contact by another person (grooming), report this to Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre at www.ceop.police.uk.

If your child has accessed inappropriate content, you can report this to the site or service it appeared on. Find out how to do this on the Childnet website.

Explore the settings to see if you can limit the risk of it happening again.

For help on specific problems, see the following hot topics on gaming, screen time, cyberbullying, online grooming and digital wellbeing.

Linked resources

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