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Online Gaming

Many young people play games online. Some games are small and simple, like the ones on the ChildLine website. Others are large multiplayer games where you can play against hundreds of other people who you might not know. It's important to stay safe online if you do this.

Staying safe while online gamingHow to stay in control when playing games online

  • Sometimes you will win and sometimes you will lose. Remember there is nothing wrong with losing.
  • People can get aggressive or nasty when playing online because they want to win. Respect other players and don’t upset anyone in order to get ahead. 
  • Keep an eye out for game ratings. They tell you if the game is unsuitable for younger age groups.
  • Don’t spend all your time gaming. Make sure you still have time for your family and friends, other social activities and homework.
  • If you ever feel yourself becoming irritable or tired, take a break for a while or reduce your gaming time.

How do I stay safe when
playing games online?

  • Don’t use any personal information that might identify you. This could be your full name, home address, phone number or the name of your school.
  • Use a nickname instead of your real name and choose one that will not attract the wrong type of attention.
  • Look out for your mates. Treat your friend’s personal details like you would your own and do not share their details with others.

  • How do I stay safe whilst using voice chat?

    In some online games, you can talk to others players through a headset, often known as ‘voice chat’. The other person might seem friendly but remember they are still strangers and it is still important to keep safe:

    Sometimes you can use a ‘voice mask’. This will disguise your voice and make you sound different, that way, others don’t know your age or gender.

    Remember not to share any personal information with them.

    If they ever make you feel uncomfortable or keep on asking personal questions, hang up or cancel the chat and tell a trusted adult.

  • Tips for staying safe online by young people

    We asked the ChildLine community for your tips on staying safe online. Thank you to everyone who posted on the message board thread, we’ve had some really great responses.

    Your top tips for staying safe:

    -  "Don't take the anonymity on the internet for granted, what you think you can get
    away with, you can't."
    -  "Conduct the internet as you would conduct real life."
    -  "Don't agree to meet strangers you have met online."
    -  "Remember that, online, you can have as many lives as you like but you only get one shot at real life so don't do anything daft."
    -  "Don't flame anyone else in the online game (e.g. bully someone to leave a game  when they have done nothing wrong)."
    -  "Tell someone if you feel threatened while online gaming." 

  • I'm being bullied by another player. What do I do?

    -  If you ever feel unsafe or are being bullied by another player, block the person from talking to you and report it to the game provider. The help section within your game should tell you how to do this.
    -  In some games you might also be able to leave and start a new game with someone else, or kick the player out of the game.
    -  Try and not write back to any messages you receive as this may encourage
    the bullying to carry on.
    -  Keep a record of the abuse and tell a trusted parent or carer. 
    -  If you don’t want to tell anyone else you can always talk to ChildLine on 0800 1111.
    It's confidential, free to call and won’t show up on the house or mobile phone bill.
    -  Don’t worry about getting into trouble. You have done nothing wrong and it is not your fault.

  • How do I keep a record of the abusive messages I'm getting?

    If you can see the conversation on your screen, here’s how to take a snapshot of it:

    -  Push the ‘Print Screen’ button on your keyboard.
    -  Open a Word document, right click (or select Edit) and choose 'Paste' to copy it across.
    -  Save the document and show it to someone you trust.
    -  If you can’t make a copy of the abuse, try and record the time in which the abuse happened and the player’s nickname.

  • We can help

    If you are worried about anything, you can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111 or speak to a counsellor through 1-2-1 chat online. You might also find it helpful to visit the message boards and see what other young people have written about staying safe online.

    Visit the contacting ChildLine page for more information on how we can help.

Useful Links

Think U Know website

Anything missing?

Is there anything else about online gaming that you'd like to see added to this page?

Online Gaming 


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