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Playing games online, alone or against others has become the standard mode, from simple arcade games to massively multiplayer online games (MMOs), which can involve a huge number of players participating in a single online game at the same time. 
Many of these MMOs support virtual communities, and this can expose players to the risks associated with real-time interaction with unknown fellow players.

Such risks include:

  • User-generated content created in the game which could be unsuitable for young people and a mismatch with the age rating given for the game.
  • Some players engaging in behaviour that might not be suitable for young people. For example, inappropriate or offensive language; bullying in games that allow text, voice or video communication; unsporting conduct like cheating and tampering; or aggressiveness towards others.
  • Breaches of privacy. Online gameplay can encourage people, including children to build meaningful relationships, but that brings along the risk of sharing personal details, or meeting unknown fellow players outside the game.
  • Links to websites where content may not be suitable for young people.
  • Explain to your children that they should not give out personal details to other players.
  • Tell your children that they should not meet other players unless accompanied by you.
  • Monitor your children’s activities on gameplay websites. Better even, play with them.
  • Encourage and remind your children to report issues such as bullying, threatening or bad language, the display of unwanted content, or invitations to meet outside the game.
  • Report inappropriate behaviour, using the feedback page on this site, or specific complaint mechanisms on consoles or the games’ websites.
  • Cease communication or change your child’s online ID if anything within the game or the way it evolves makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Bad behaviour, bad language, or cheating is NOT okay! You can block other players from contacting you, report them to the game provider or platform, and/or tell your parents.
  • Tell your parents right away if you come across any information that makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Do not give out personal information such as your home address, e-mail address, telephone number, passwords or pictures.
  • Never agree to get together with someone you meet online without checking with your parents first.