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Your Child and Online Gaming

This March, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) for Cumbria, Peter McCall, is working with online safety experts, Get Safe Online to highlight some of the threats of online gaming – and how your kids can game safely.

One of the most popular online pastimes for children, online gaming, has both positive and negative aspects. The benefits of gaming can range from developing qualities such as strategic thinking, rationalising, problem solving and persistence to supporting development of a wide range of cognitive and motor skills. What’s more it can encourage creativity whilst socialising, albeit virtually, with friends.

Risks to children who play games online arise largely from the vast number of people both in the UK and abroad who are also playing, the minimal restrictions and the fact that they are not playing face-to-face.

PFCC Peter McCall, said: “We all want our children to be able to enjoy their hobbies in a safe manner – including online gaming.

“As parents, we need to ensure that our children aren’t accessing materials that are inappropriate for their age group, that they understand the risks and dangers of communicating with potential strangers online and that clear boundaries are in place.

“I would urge all parents to read the tips and advice from Get Safe Online to help keep our children safe when online.”

Tony Neate, CEO at Get Safe Online comments, “Many children enjoy the benefits of gaming, but it is important that they do so safely, securely and with confidence.

“This month’s campaign highlights some expert advice that parents can use when their kids are gaming on the internet

“If you have children gaming in your household, I recommend that you take a look. You can discover lots more at

It’s very important to work with your child to find the best games for their age, interests and personality, and additionally:

  • Check PEGI (Pan European Game Information) age ratings of games to ensure your children aren’t accessing inappropriate content.
  • Join your child in online gaming from time to time and randomly. This will give you an idea of the games they’re playing and who they connect with.
  • Have open and honest conversations with your child about their online gaming and the risks involved including stranger danger, bullying and oversharing. Tell them that not everybody they meet on gaming platforms and forums is who they claim to be.
  • Set and monitor limits for the amount of daily or weekly time your children spend online gaming.
  • You could pre-load some spending money on to their game, but be clear that when it’s gone, it’s gone, and stick to it.
  • Don’t give your child access to your payment card details as extras can be very costly.
  • Impress upon your child that they can come to you or another responsible adult with any concerns. Depending on their age, you could also discuss how to report issues to the gaming platform and/or the police.

For free, practical advice on staying safe online visit

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