Click or Tap this box to learn more about where you can find support
- If you need guidance and support on issues affecting children you can contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 500 or email [email protected]
- Parentline: is a free and confidential helpline and online chat service for parents and carers in Northern Ireland.
- ParentingNI: provide a free support line and webchat for parents and carers in Northern Ireland.
- PSNI website: provides advice and support for parents/carers or other adult involved in protecting a child.
- YoungMinds: For information and guidance on the impact of gaming on mental health, you can visit the YoungMinds website.
- The Mix: If you are a young person and require advice on this issue, you can contact The Mix on 0808 808 4994, text ‘THEMIX’ to their Crisis messenger on 85258, or contact them via their online email form. A 1-2-1 chat option is also available, which is free webchat service.
What you need to know
- The gaming landscape: Gain a basic understanding of gaming, including popular game genres, platforms, and the appeal of gaming among young people.
- Age-appropriate content: Be aware of game ratings and ensure that the games your child or the young individuals you work with are appropriate for their age. This includes violence, explicit language, and graphic imagery. Familiarise yourself with rating systems like PEGI (Pan European Game Information) to make informed decisions.
- Setting boundaries and screen time: Establish clear guidelines for screen time and gaming sessions. Encourage a healthy balance between gaming, physical activity, social interactions, and other responsibilities. Establishing consistent routines and limits can help prevent excessive gaming and its potential negative impacts.
- Online interactions: Multiplayer gaming involves interactions with other players, including strangers. This creates potential risks, such as exposure to inappropriate language, bullying, or even grooming. Educate children and young people about online safety, the importance of not sharing personal information, and encourage reporting any concerning behaviour.
- Gambling and in-app purchases: Most games have a form of loot boxes (in-game treasure chests) for purchase, which could result in unhealthy spending habits, especially when boxes offer competitive advantages. Children and young people may not understand the mechanics of gambling (like risk and reward) and this increases chances of possible exploitation.