Socialising Online When Gaming

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We all love to socialise with our friends and family and through time, this has become easier and more accessible through the use of technology. Gaming has, in itself, evolved to become one of the most popular ways to socialise with others. Not only does it give players a game to cooperative or competitively enjoy, but it also gives them a platform to build friendships and even relationships.

This accessibility gives so much freedom to players, that it can draw in considerations around online safety, especially surrounding children and young people. The online gaming world is vast, and when it comes to socialising, it can often extend towards people we don’t know. This can bring in considerations around potential risk of harm towards children and young people. Take a look at how gamers socialise with others online and some guidance around how to appropriately respond if concerns arise.

How Do Children Socialise Online When Gaming?    

There are a variety of different ways children and young people socialise online. It can be purely based on playing games together but can develop into other forms of communication. For example, you can get a better understanding into at some of the ways gamers can engage with others online below:

  • Through randomised online play (automatically joining players across the world e.g. battle royale type games such as Fortnite or Fall Guys)
  • Through friend connections (players who have searched for specific people by usernames or gamer IDs)
  • Private and public messaging (communication to a specific player or to a collective group)
  • Communication through headsets (allowing players to speak to one another while playing)

Most of the time, socialising online when gaming is a great way to connect with others, but at the same time, there needs to be awareness around what potential risks are at play.

What Do I Need to Be Aware of?

Gaming is a lot like social media, there’s a lot of freedom and opportunities available to connect with others. Children and young people enjoy socialising with others online because:

Despite this, it can also be a platform for other users to express opinions that could be considered harmful or offensive. In some instances, online gaming can bring:

How Can I Encourage Safer Online Socialising?

As with most things, experiencing them for yourself can bring you up to speed on what opportunities may present themselves when younger children socialise with others online. Joining alongside them can help better prepare you and them for when potentially harmful situations may arise. Take a look at this short video for Safer Internet Day 2022 to see what you can learn by joining your child!

Make sure you and your child are confident and familiar with:

Reporting a player or piece of content that may be harmful and offensive

Being able to Block or Mute other players

Managing privacy settings and communication features

As well as these, it is important to encourage the active use of reporting whilst ensuring young people have the confidence to come forward and tell an adult when something has upset them online.

Many of these platforms have teams of moderators who can suspend or block accounts if someone has breached their own community standards. If a player is noticeable causing harm to others, then there are consequences that can be enforced by the platform.

If you are concerned that your child is in immediate danger with someone online, then it is advisable to phone the police  

Visit our topic page to discover more tips and advice around gaming!