Introduction to online gaming for parents

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In today's digital age, online gaming has transformed into a dynamic and immersive form of entertainment, captivating millions of players worldwide, including children and adolescents.

From action-packed adventures to cooperative puzzles, online games offer a vast array of experiences that can be both enjoyable and enriching. However, with this digital landscape comes the responsibility of ensuring the safety and well-being of young gamers. As a parent, understanding the intricacies of online gaming is crucial for fostering a safe and positive gaming environment for your children. This guide aims to equip parents with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the world of online gaming confidently.

Are your kids safe when gaming online?

Ensuring the safety of your children in the online gaming realm requires a proactive approach and an awareness of potential risks. While reputable gaming platforms strive to create secure environments for players, it's essential to recognize that certain dangers persist. These risks may include exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, interactions with online predators, and privacy violations.

Inappropriate content can range from depictions of violence and explicit language to themes that may not align with your family's values or your child's developmental stage. Cyberbullying, a prevalent issue in online communities, can manifest through hurtful messages, exclusionary behavior, or even threats of violence. Moreover, online predators may exploit gaming platforms to groom and manipulate young players, posing a significant threat to their safety and well-being. 

Child holding a gaming controller

What are the risks of online gaming?

Online gaming, while immensely popular and entertaining, comes with its own set of risks and challenges. Understanding these risks is crucial for parents and gamers alike to navigate the digital landscape safely, let’s take a look at the 8 most common risks associated with online gaming. 

  1. Inappropriate content: Many online games feature content that may not be suitable for all age groups. This content may include violence, suggestive themes, or graphic imagery that can potentially influence impressionable young minds. 
  1. Cyberbullying: The anonymity provided by online gaming platforms can embolden individuals to engage in harmful behavior towards others. Cyberbullying in gaming environments can take various forms, such as verbal abuse, harassment, or deliberate exclusion in gameplay. While some games include in-game communication platforms, many gamers communicate through outside apps such as Discord which opens their communication to a larger group of unknown people increasing their risk of cyberbullying.
  1. Sexual content: Exposure to sexual content is something that your child may come in contact with. Whether through links, images, live streaming or text and voice communication, sexual content online is prevalent.  
  1. Online predators: Online gaming communities can attract individuals with malicious intent who may exploit vulnerable players. Predators may attempt to build trust with children, manipulate them into sharing personal information, or coerce them into engaging in inappropriate behavior. Grooming by sexual predators happens every single day.
  1. Privacy and security concerns: Online gaming platforms may inadvertently expose players to privacy and security risks when gamers share personal information like passwords, credit card details, or other personally identifiable information. This can occur through interactions with other players, participation in online forums or communities, or even through phishing attempts disguised as legitimate gaming communications. Sharing sensitive information puts players at risk of identity theft, financial fraud, and other forms of cybercrime. 
  1. Exposure to online scams and malware: Gamers may encounter scams or malicious software (malware) disguised as game mods, cheats, or in-game items while playing online. Clicking on suspicious links or downloading unauthorized content can expose players to phishing attacks, viruses, and other cyber threats.
  1. Social isolation: While online gaming can facilitate social interaction and collaboration with other players, it can also lead to social withdrawal and isolation, particularly if gaming becomes the primary form of socialization for an individual. This can negatively impact real-life relationships and social skills development.
  1. Financial risks: Some online games incorporate microtransactions, loot boxes, and other in-game purchases that can tempt players, especially children, to spend real money excessively. Without proper supervision and financial literacy, players may overspend or fall victim to predatory monetization practices.

7 ways to keep your kids safe when playing online games.

As parents, safeguarding your children's well-being while gaming online involves proactive measures to ensure their safety. With the ever-expanding landscape of virtual worlds and multiplayer platforms, it's essential to equip yourself with effective strategies to protect your child from potential risks. Let’s explore practical and proactive ways to foster a safe and positive gaming experience for your gamer. From setting clear guidelines and educating them about online safety to utilizing advanced parental control tools and leveraging technology solutions, empowering parents with knowledge and tools is key to creating a secure gaming environment where children can thrive online responsibly.

  1. Establish clear guidelines: Start by setting clear boundaries and expectations regarding gaming habits, including acceptable game genres that your family is comfortable with, acceptable amount of gaming time, and guidelines for online interactions. Engage in open communication with your child, emphasizing the importance of responsible gaming behavior. We suggest creating a gaming contract with your child that specifies the types of games they are are allowed to play, how long they can play for, what to do when problems arise and more. By putting it on paper, you both have clear expectations that need to be followed in order to ensure their safety while gaming. 
  1. Educate your child: Empower your child with knowledge about safe gaming behavior, including the importance of safeguarding personal information, recognizing and reporting inappropriate behavior, and exercising caution when interacting with strangers online in gaming chats both in the game and on Discord. Encourage your child to speak up if they encounter any concerning situations while gaming and ensure that you create an environment at home where they feel safe to speak to you when problems arise. 
  1. Share less, play more: Remind your child that the less they share with others while gaming, the better! This is true for their gamertag, login information, and any personal information. They should not share their gamertag widely and should not use the same gamertag on all gaming platforms. By changing their gamertag for different games, they will protect themselves from toxic gamers they may come in contact with in one game from finding them in another. Your child should never share their login with anyone, even friends. Exercising caution when playing with friends is important as well. In many cases, cyberbullying and privacy violations occur between “friends”. 
  1. Protect your child’s virtual identity: There are many ways to protect your child’s virtual identity, from ensuring that they are gaming ona secure wi-fi network to helping them set up their accounts with strong passwords. Many kids (and adults) use the same password for all of their gaming accounts. Start by ensuring that they have unique passwords and that they set up two-factor authentication wherever possible. For kids who game, having their virtual assets stolen is like having their bank account drained. Additionally, it is recommended that you and your child understand each games privacy settings so that you can adjust them to meet the needs and preferences of your family in terms of who your child can chat with in the game as well as limiting or disabling in-game purchases to avoid unintentional spening or sharing financial information. 
  1. Watch out for 'microtransactions' (they can become macro very quickly!): Limit your chld’s spending on in-game purchases by using gift cards instead of saving your credit card details in their account. By providing your child with gift cards, you know how much they are spending, there is a limit and they learn to manage the money on the gift card to get what they need! 
  1. Get involved with their gaming: Stay actively involved in your child's gaming activities by monitoring their gameplay sessions, especially when they are engaging in online multiplayer experiences. Familiarize yourself with the games they play, the online communities they participate in, and the individuals they interact with. Take some time to learn the games and play a few times with your child to get a better understanding!
  1. Use safe gaming tools to alert you of gaming threat exposures: Consider implementing comprehensive parental control solutions like ProtectMe by Kidas available through Aura’s Family Plan to enhance your child's online safety. ProtectMe offers a range of features, including screen time monitoring, real-time threat detection, and activity reports, empowering you to safeguard your child's gaming experience effectively.

How to decide if an online game is safe for your kids.

Evaluating the safety of online games for your child is a critical responsibility. With a vast array of gaming options available, ranging from immersive multiplayer experiences to educational simulations, determining which games are suitable for your kids can be a daunting task. In this section, we'll delve into practical strategies and considerations to help you make informed decisions about the safety and appropriateness of online games for your child.


  1. Do your research: Before allowing your child to play specific games, conduct thorough research by reading reviews with your child from both players and industry experts. Pay attention to feedback regarding the game's content, community dynamics, and overall suitability for children. It is recommended to stick to gaming publishers you know to ensure that your child is playing safe, reputable games. 
  1. Check ratings: Familiarize yourself with the age ratings and content descriptors provided by reputable rating organizations such as the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). These ratings offer valuable insights into the intended audience and content of each game.
  1. Review game features: Take the time to explore the features and mechanics of the game, including online interactions, chat functionalities, and user-generated content. Assess whether these elements align with your child's age, maturity level, and your family's values.
  1. Consult other parents: Seek recommendations and insights from other parents, caregivers, or online communities to gain a broader perspective on the safety and suitability of specific games for children. Sharing experiences and exchanging information can help you make informed decisions about your child's gaming experiences.
  1. Understand the moderation: Some games and gaming chats have moderators that can help keep your child safe. On Discord and in specific games, they act as the referees to keep gamers safe and protected. Understanding what moderation looks like in the games your child plays is important. 


Online gaming has become an integral part of modern childhood, offering unparalleled opportunities for entertainment, socialization, and skill development. However, as with any form of digital engagement, it's essential for parents to remain vigilant and actively involved in their children's gaming experiences. By understanding the potential risks, implementing proactive safety measures, and leveraging technology solutions like ProtectMe by Kidas available through Aura, parents can create a secure and supportive gaming environment where their children can thrive responsibly and safely. Remember, open communication, education, and parental guidance are key to fostering a positive gaming experience for your family.

From understanding age ratings and assessing game features to seeking recommendations from trusted sources, arming yourself with knowledge and insights is paramount in ensuring your child’s gaming experiences align with their developmental needs and your family values.

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