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Putteridge Primary School

Putteridge Primary School

What Parents Need to Know about Gaming

With concerns about escalating screen-time, the impact of violence, unexpected costs and interloping strangers it can be tempting to lock down video games to limit their negative impact. While some sensible boundaries are helpful, they are only a short term solution for how we guide children towards gaming health.

In these guides, summarised below, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as screen time, violence and interaction with strangers. The actual guides are available as PDFs at the bottom of the page.

Gaming Disorder
In 2018, the World Health Organisation included gaming disorder as part of its International Classification of Diseases. Those with the disorder are categorised as having impaired control over gaming, increased priority given to gaming over other activities, and continuing to game despite the occurrences of negative consequences. Naturally, a gaming disorder can affect a person of any age, with children as much at risk as anybody of developing symptoms if left unchecked, While some or all the symptoms may appear, they must be consistently prevalent for a period of at least 12 months to be considered an Internet Gaming Disease or IGD, but that time may be decreased if symptoms are severe.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as mental health, gambling problems and stress.
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Horror Games

Horror video games come in a such a variety that the genre can hard to define. The overlapping element is that these games are designed to scare or unsettle the player through gameplay, atmosphere, story, music, setting and 'jump scares'. The most common sub-genres are survival horror, action horror, psychological horror, jump-scare horror and reverse horror. These games originate from a range of developers, including smaller indie studios which release download-only titles (that is, they aren’t physically sold in shops) and therefore aren’t subject to age ratings.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as adult themes, psychological horror and violent content.
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Loot Boxes

Marketed as increasing a player’s enjoyment of a game, loot boxes are usually purchased or given as rewards. When opened, they unlock items for use in the game, such as better weapons or new characters to play as. Loot boxes feature in many games and are therefore available to various age groups. They’ve often been criticised for emulating gambling: the odds of unlocking certain items can be astronomical, while the money being spent is often high compared to the potential reward. It’s imperative that trusted adults understand the risks that loot boxes can pose.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as addiction, scams and mounting costs.
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The Metaverse

‘Metaverse’ is a relatively new term to many, however the concept has been around for some time. Videogames, for example, use many aspects of the metaverse; avatars, digital currency, mini-games, and open communication. A metaverse can also take many forms; Fortnite can be seen as a metaverse, as is Roblox. Put simply, a metaverse is an online environment where people interact, play games and express themselves. Away from traditional videogames, there are newer and more ‘dedicated’ metaverses such as Decentraland, The Sandbox and Somnium Space which are akin to Second Life.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as anonymity, psychological impact and unsafe areas.
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Steam is a computer gaming digital distribution platform and storefront. It is the biggest platform for desktop- or laptop-based gaming, with a range of more than 30,000 games available. The platform has become a lively social environment for many gamers, and allows people to trade, sell and buy gaming items for real money. Valve, the developers behind Steam, have also released different hardware that works with the platform, including the Steam Deck – a hand-held console that lets users play their favourite games while away from their computer.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as potential scams, contact with strangers and in-app purchases.
COPYRIGHT - National Online Safety

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR for short) has existed for decades, but it’s only in the last 10 years that the technology has really become publicly available. With VR’s rapid rise as a gaming and educational medium, there are plenty of unknowns regarding its use – for adults and children alike. Is it safe? How long should someone use VR for? How expensive is it? What’s clear is that VR is becoming ever more ubiquitous in everyday life: from companies using it for training to at-home fitness. Knowing what the technology is capable of is more useful than ever.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as physical accidents, premature exposure and eye strain.
COPYRIGHT - National Online Safety