Is 'Roblox' safe for my child? What about 'Among Us', or 'Hello Neighbour'? Help!
These are questions that are commonly asked from parents and carers of children and teens.
The Beacon Project team have partnered with the world's best - eSafety Commissioner and Common Sense Media - to ensure that the Beacon cyber safety app is able to provide reviews on some of the most popular apps and games to keep you up-to-date and on top of the trends in Australia.
Beacon provides articles and videos that describe the games'
- Age recommendations
- Benefits and Risks
- Link to set parental controls (if they exist)
We always recommend to download and use the game first, prior to making a decision as to whether you feel the game or app is suitable for your child.
To find out more about Roblox, Amoung Us, Hello Neighbour and many more video, social media and gaming apps, download the Beacon app today!
We recommend checking out these helpful articles in the Beacon app:
- Online gaming: Grooming and online bullying by The eSafety Office
- What gaming apps are safe for children?
Simply search these titles in the FOR YOU menu or type 'gaming' for a full list of helpful articles and videos. You can also search by specific game title if you know the name!
Creating a safe gaming environment for children
Here are some strategies to help create a safe online gaming environment for your child:
- Locate the computer or games console in an open area of your home or, if your child is playing on their handheld device, get them to do it in the family room.
- Activate parental controls and safety features on the device or in the app or browser. These controls can help restrict access to certain content and limit spending on in-game and in-app purchases.
Build good habits
- Help your child to protect their privacy online — get them to use a screen name that does not reveal their real name.
- Agree on strategies to help them to switch off, like a timer that signals game time is nearly over, with consequences for not switching off.
- Talk regularly with your child about their gaming interests and who they play with online. Help them understand the risks.
- Play alongside your child to get a better sense of how they are handling their personal information and who they are communicating with.
Be aware of what they are playing
- Games vary in their level of violent or sexual content, and may contain themes, language and images that are unsuitable for your child.
- You can check the age guidelines and classification for an individual game on its website or product packaging. Review sites can also be a good source of information – check out Common Sense Media (US).
Empower your child
- Wherever possible, help them make wise decisions for themselves, rather than tell them what to do.
- Try to provide them with strategies for dealing with negative online experiences that will build their confidence and resilience.
eSafety Commissioner "Creating a safe gaming environment for children."
Prevent unauthorised gaming purchases with parental controls
Online games can be carefully engineered using sneaky methods to lure children into making in-game purchases.
For example, gameplay may become more difficult or frustrating, or they can get locked out of game features or levels until money is spent to bypass these restrictions. This is often how these gaming companies make a profit. These tricks can be very persuasive and hard to resist – especially for children whose decision-making and self-control skills are still developing.
Before deciding whether your child should play a particular game, check gaming review sites, including the ratings provided by Common Sense Media, to see whether they mention that it incurs a lot of hidden charges or in-app purchases to advance in the game.
Some devices and games have parental control settings that allow you to limit spending on in-game purchases and restrict access to certain features that cost money.
- On Apple devices you can choose to disable in-app purchases altogether, or set up Family Sharing that requires parent approval in order to make a purchase (i.e. Ask to Buy)
- For Android devices, you can set up a parental approval requirement for app purchases in Family Link – although this setting is only for children under the age of 13.
- Children’s accounts can be set up on gaming consoles like Microsoft Xbox and some newer PlayStation models to protect payment information and prevent your child from being able to access your credit card details to make illegitimate purchases.
Think broadly about all the different devices that allow your child access to a particular game - like PCs, gaming consoles, tablet computer or mobile phone. Set up parental controls across all of them and check that your credit card information isn’t stored on any devices you may have overlooked.