Online gaming is just like playing a regular computer or video game, but instead of playing alone you can play with people from all over the world! Users can team up to defeat enemies or play against a computer-controlled team. There are even text and voice chat capabilities, so gamers can communicate in real time while they play.
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Why it’s great
You get to meet people from all over the world, learn how to work on a team and meet people who like the same games you do.
The not so great
Gaming can be addicting. Getting to the next level and defeating your enemies is an important part of the fun, but so is taking breaks and not losing sleep. Not all your friends from the real world will play the same online games you do, so make time for offline activities too.
Voice and text chatting can involve nasty language or bullying. As well, some games involve violent scenes, activities and language that is not appropriate for all ages.
People aren’t always who they say they are in online games. If anyone makes you feel uncomfortable or asks you for personal information leave the game and tell a trusted adult immediately.
Explore it together!
Discuss different online games as a family and set rules about how many hours a day family members should be playing.
Top concerns for online gaming
Take breaks and don’t forget about the other activities you enjoy in the offline world.
Always use a nickname!
Never do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable for cheats or game items.
Even if you’ve been gaming together for months, never give out personal information to someone you’ve never met in the real world.
Respect others! You don’t want to be bullied, so treat everyone like you would want to be treated.
Get more tips on how you can make online gaming safer for your kids
Monitor who your child is gaming with, and whether or not the game is age appropriate by keeping your computer in the family room. This also eliminates the opportunity for your child to spend hours gaming in the privacy of their bedroom once you are asleep!
Become familiar with game ratings and privacy statements by reviewing each online gaming site's terms of acceptable use. See the Xbox Live code of conduct for an example.
Set rules before your child goes online. Typical rules include limiting playtime, playing with offline world friends only, and never chatting with strangers or giving out personal information.
Monitor game chats and messages. If a player is using inappropriate language, encourage your child to tell you.