Online gaming

What you need to know

What you need to know

There are many positive aspects to online gaming. Your child may be playing games to pass time, for escapism, to be creative, problem solve and socialise.

Games can be played on numerous devices such as consoles, computers, tablets and phones which can be connected to the internet.

Games may have many different ways to play including single player or multiplayer, and each option can have an online internet connection.

Local multiplayer usually means that your child needs to be connected to the same local area network, for example a network within the same home.

Online multiplayer mode allows your child to connect with their friends remotely, as well as the ability to connect with gamers from all over the world and of any age.

Some games also have in-game chat which can include video, voice and text to allow your child to communicate with other people during the game in real time. These can be via instant or direct message or in a ‘group chat’. There are even specific chat apps or site dedicated for gamers to communicate with each other in real time.

Advice for parents and carers

Advice for parents and carers

Under 5

What can I do?

  • Maintain supervision of your child when they are online
  • Encourage your child to identify trusted adults who can help.

It’s never too early to start teaching young children about technology and online safety. The early learning resource Playing IT Safe can help you do this.

Playing IT Safe is a free resource developed for prior to school aged children. It’s an introduction to digital technology and online safety education and includes a series of play-based activities that children can undertake in early learning environments with educators, and at home with parents and carers.

You can access Playing IT Safe at


What can I do?

  • Check if the games your child plays have instant or direct messaging functions
  • Maintain supervision of your child when they are playing games
  • Use ‘smart usernames’ that don’t give away personal information when creating a profile or an account
  • Your child should only play games with people they know and trust. However if your child is playing multiplayer games, encourage them to keep the topic about the game only.

If your child is playing online games they should only play with people they know in-person, such as family or school friends. Turn off the chat function or have conversations with your child about what to do if someone they don’t know starts talking to them.

If turning off the chat function isn’t possible monitor any conversations. If your child is using voice chat while playing games, consider enabling sound through speakers so you can listen.

Encourage your child to question suspicious requests, for example if someone they don’t know is asking them personal questions about themselves or is asking them to send photos.

Another thing to look out for is whether an online ‘friend’ from a game suggests they become ‘friends’ on another app to continue chatting, for example an image sharing app. This can be a sign that something isn’t right and they should be blocked and reported.


What can I do?

  • Consider whether direct message or chat functions are necessary for the game
  • If your child is playing multiplayer games with people they don’t know in-person, encourage them to keep the topic about the game only
  • Use ‘smart usernames’ that don’t give away personal information when creating a profile or an account
  • Learn how to block and report other players and inappropriate contact.

If your child is playing games online in multiplayer mode, they may be playing with people they might not actually know in-person.

They also may be playing with people who are a lot older than they are with the average age of an online gamer being in their 30’s.

If your child is using games with a direct message or chat function, they can be exposed to inappropriate contact. Make sure your child is aware of what to do if they are approached in a chat or asked to send images of themselves, including blocking and reporting.

They should be aware that not everyone online is who they say they are, even people who are playing online games.

Related Advice

What we do

We develop resources and advice for parents, carers and educators, children and young people to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

Led by the Australian Federal Police, our program includes:

  • Presentations for schools and community groups
  • Online learning resources
  • Activities to do at home
  • Fact sheets and guides
  • Educators resources


What we don’t do

Our program doesn’t cover:

  • Information about general online safety, including cyberbullying
  • Information about cybercrime

For information about online safety visit the eSafety Commissioner

For information about cybercrime visit ReportCyber

Our partners

ThinkUKnow Australia is a partnership between the Australian Federal Police, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Datacom and Microsoft Australia, and delivered in partnership with all State and Territory police and Neighbourhood Watch Australasia.

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