Do you like playing videogames like Rocket League, Fortnite, or FIFA? What about mobile phone games, like Roblox or Candy Crush?
Online gaming is now more accessible and social than ever. Games often link you to separate online platforms and encourage you to interact with both offline friends and other gamers in different ways. This can be a lot of fun – but it can also increase the risk of experiencing online harms.
Top Gaming Tips
Communicating with other gamers.
A simple rule for using in-game chat features to talk to others is to stick to chatting about the game itself. This includes chatting with offline friends as it could be seen by other gamers. If another player asks for personal information, to meet up in person, or for images and videos, then block, report it to the game and tell someone you trust. Remember, there’s always help and support with anything that happens online.
Keep it private.
Avoid sharing your personal information or anyone else’s when playing online games. This includes not sharing your Instagram or Snapchat usernames in your gaming profiles.
Report and block.
Inappropriate communication and bullying type behaviour can happen in games as well as on social media or messaging apps. It could be through unkind messages or targeting other players within a game. Most games have reporting and blocking features which can be used to support you. Talk to a trusted adult if someone is pressuring you, of if anything is making you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
Limit screen time.
It’s easy to lose track of time. Take breaks, set a timer and be honest about how long you are spending gaming, or it could affect your mental health and wellbeing. If you are worried about gaming then ask for help from someone you trust.
Watch out for in-game purchases
Check whether something will cost real world money before you buy anything. Only ever buy something with a parent or carer’s consent, and with a spending limit put in place. Turn off or restrict in-app purchases through mobile and console app stores. Purchases need to be carefully managed or you could quickly end up spending more money than you had intended to. If this has happened to you, or if it is something that you are worried about, then speak to an adult you trust and they will support you.
Police Service of Northern Ireland
If you are worried or concerned about something, please make sure you speak to an adult you trust.