NSPCC is using Internet Safety Day to encourage parents to join their children's virtual games for a better understanding
Parents with children who enjoy online gaming should sign-up and join in, so they can understand more about the virtual worlds their children live in, says the NSPCC.
Whether it's Fortnite or Fifa, understanding and talking to children about what they do online is crucial to keeping them safe says the children's charity - which is using today's Internet Safety Day to persuade parents to pick up a controller and play along.
The theme of this year's awareness day by the UK Safer Internet Centre is 'All fun and games? Exploring respect and relationships online'.
While recognising the important part the internet now plays in the lives of young people - providing them with entertainment, opportunities to learn new skills and the ability to stay connected with their friends - households are being reminded that there can be risks involved too.
According to Ofcom seven out of 10 children aged five to 15 played some form of online game in 2020 during the height of the pandemic and it now remains a hugely popular way for young people to stay connected away from school or college.
And while gaming and the internet has proved to be a vital lifeline for children isolating at home in the last two years, many children, says the charity, have had negative experiences online too.
The NSPCC is challenging parents and carers to host an online games night with younger family members so that they can get to know their child's favourite gaming platform in order to better start conversations about internet safety within the context of what they're playing or the apps they're using.
Kate Edwards, NSPCC Associate Head of Child Safety Online said: "Online gaming plays an important part in many children and young people’s lives. It provides them with entertainment, opportunities to learn new skills and allows them to stay connected with their friends. But there can be risks involved.
"Talking to your child about what they’re doing online is an important tool in helping to keep them safe. Safer Internet Day is a great opportunity to have this conversation, so why not #PlayYourPart and hold a family online games night to get talking."
Those looking for further support can visit the NSPCC’s Online Safety hub which includes pages on navigating social media, online gaming and parental controls alongside information parents might need to know about harmful content and online reporting.
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