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Gaming resources for families: Online gaming advice from beyond the games industry

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Recently at AskAboutGames, we looked at the VSC Rating Board's new PEGI app, which helps you check the content of games you might be considering buying for your family.

This time around, we're going to look at the advice about online gaming on offer from beyond the industry. The people and companies that make online games are in the vast majority very keen to make sure their players are safeguarded, and that connected realms are suitably policed by staff and technology. That's primarily because they do care, but equally for a game to thrive commercially it needs to protect the players.

Still, it's important you read up on how online gaming works, and what the opportunities and challenges are with regard to children playing them. And we'd totally understand if you wanted to hear some advice from experts outside of games. Certainly, the games industry itself has an informed perspective – that's why AskAboutGames is made possible by Ukie and the VSC Rating Board. But there's some other great insights out there. And the more you read, the better placed you are to make gaming a positive force in your family.

We'd very much recommend the NSPCC's guidance on online safety for youngsters. One thing that's encouraging is that their 'T.E.A.M' advice very much matches what we at AskAboutGames suggest. Here's how the NSPCC put it:

Talk about staying sake online Explore their online world together Agree rules about what's OK and what's not OK Manage your families settings and controls

Similarly useful is Childline's guide specific to online gaming which, along with advice on keeping your family safe, also includes lessons for youngsters in treating other online users with respect. It can, after all, be easy to forget that the character on screen you are talking to has a real person behind them in an online game.

Perhaps the most valuable, though, is the entire UK Safer Internet website, which has an abidance of advice, resources and insights for everyone, and not just youngsters. You won't get the gaming-specific focus of AskAboutGames, but you will be able to get superb and detailed insights into technology generally, from people who know. And gaming is covered too. We'd advise checking in with their Parents and Carers Advice Centre for plenty of good information.

Those websites should keep you busy, but do check back in with AskAboutGames soon, as we'll be sharing more great resources.

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Will Freeman