Gaming in the summer holidays – advice for parents and carers
Sunshine may not be guaranteed over the summer, but it’s a safe bet that many children and young people will be playing a video game or two over the holidays. Whether it’s Fortnite, Minecraft or even a game of Solitaire, chances are that someone in your family will spend time gaming in the summer holidays. There are many positives associated with online video games and your family can use this summer break to enjoy the benefits of gaming – online and offline.
Safe gaming in the summer holidays
- Talk with your child about the game they like to play and their strategies – you may be surprised at how educational it can be
- Discuss any risks associated with online gaming with your children
- Have a conversation with your child to make sure they realise that it is possible to spend real money on the game
- Encourage your child to make use of the safety features available in gaming, such as block and report
- Set ground rules - such as never sharing any personal information based on your child’s age. For example, rules like only playing/communicating with people that they actually know in the real world whenever possible, and only playing where parents can listen and hear what is happening is relevant for younger children but may not be for older ones.
- When/if possible, disable the chat feature in games
- Check out the PEGI(age-ratings) for the games you play at home and have a conversation about why they are important
Check our advice page for parents and carers on gaming including age ratings, scams and hacks, passwords and usernames and more.
Tips to balance time spent gaming in the summer holidays
- Make sure you know what and when your children are playing online
- Encourage your children to take regular breaks when gaming in the summer holidays (and the rest of the year!)
- Set game limits based on game play; for example, your child can play one Fortnite match, or one Roblox session or finish their Minecraft project – you can set these using our family agreement template
- Take the game offline by exploring some of the themes in the real world; for example, themes about creating cities or gathering animals can lead to visits to a museum or zoo
- Consider other types of game play such as board games, puzzles and activity books; for older children, be creative with outdoor game play and activities
- When/if possible, use parental controls to make sure your children are not spending too much time (especially unsupervised) playing
Check our advice around time spent gaming including screen time and digital well-being.
Here is a glossary of some of the most popular games right now:
- Fortnite (PEGI rating 12) is a free game, where 98% of the human population is gone and your job is to survive by gathering ammunition, food and rebuild civilization. You can purchase additional ammunition, clothing, other items including the famous Fortnite dances or emotes.
- Minecraft (PEGI rating 7) is an open-ended building game, that you can play in creative mode (you create things and cartoon-like monsters can’t attack you), survival mode (you must survive against monsters and hunger) or adventure mode (you cannot break blocks, but you can kill or be killed by monsters).
- Roblox (PEGI rating 7) is a gaming platform where multiple players interact and play together online. Every game on Roblox is created by users and the games can vary from delivering pizzas, to roaming a kingdom as a medieval knight, to even starring in a fashion show.
- Apex Legends (PEGI rating 16) is an online game which is free to play where players join small ‘squads’ of 3 players and then fight other players to be the last squad standing. Each individual player can pick to play as one of eight characters, with special skills and offensive abilities.
And for more resources on online gaming, please check out:
- Check out our guides on a range of gaming devices
- GUIDE: Online gaming: an introduction for parents and carers
- How are age ratings for games and apps rated?
- PEGI gaming tips for parents
- Our blog How do I decide if a game is right for my child?
This article was first published on the SWGfL website.