Gaming (and on-line gaming) is hugely popular not only amongst children but adults as well, with ‘gaming more popular now amongst children aged 9 – 16, than social networking’ (Childnet 2016).
Games can be brilliant and can teach us so much, but sometimes games can show us things that may not be suitable.
This year (2016), as part of Internet Safety Week, we had a whole school assembly on being safe when gaming. The children all listened well and contributed their thoughts and ideas when asked. It showed us that lots of our children enjoy computer games in one form or another. And the topic of gaming was so engaging that a number of classes continued the discussions back in their classrooms throughout the day.
One of the things we discussed in the assembly was the PEGI ratings system and how it helps us to know which games would be suitable for our age groups. We noted that although a game could be rated 3 for content it doesn’t necessarily mean that a three year old could play the game due to it’s complexity.
Discussion of the ratings for games also highlighted for us that a number of children are playing games that are rated 12, and above. As we don’t have children that are 12 (or above) some of the children were concerned about this. As a school we advise the children on how to be safe (by following the SMART rules) and offer parents and carers guidance (such as this webpage and the Vodafone Digital Parenting Magazine which has an article on gaming). However, the children were told that it was up to parents and carers to decide whether a game was suitable for them. If they were concerned at all by something they had seen or heard on-line then, following the SMART rules, they would look to a trusted adult to help them out.
More information on Gaming can be found by following the links below:
- Kidsmart have a Parent’s section with links to some of the resources we use in school when talking to the children. kidsmart – Parents
- Childnet also have a section on Gaming: Childnet – Gaming
- Ratings for games and a description of the rating system can be found at the PEGI Website.
- Youtube can be a way of finding out what a game involves as there are a number of ‘Gamers’ who upload videos of their game playing.
- Kidsmart have produced this page: http://www.kidsmart.org.uk/games/