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Online games for children

Online games are games that are played with the connection to network. It includes various genres, along with different types of graphics and virtual worlds.

Online games for children may incorporate similar graphics and goals from normal online games.

Games are commonly found online, it can be played in different platforms. Some games in gaming platforms are offered free for others to enjoy.

Mobile gaming platforms, such as Google Play and Apple Store, may offer games that are purchasable or free. It allows user to download games into their mobile phones. Certain games require in-app purchases for additional functions.

Console gaming set-ups typically include a console and a TV connected to a network. Gaming subscription might be required for the specific gaming network. Online games can be downloaded or purchased, this includes any additional functions that interest the user.

PC games act similarly to a software programme, which are played on the computer. Many games are offered for free, some may require payment to unlock features that are limited. Most of the online games need to be connected to a network, one such example is the MMO game.

Online games can be portable through small consoles, which are known as handheld games. Network connection is required for most of the games to be operational and downloadable in the console. Payment is required for more contents and features in the game.

Games in website browser or “plug-in”, are known as internet games. Certain websites provide hundreds of games that are usually free to play. Users are able to create different elements in a game from those websites if creative mode is offered.

Augment reality and virtual reality games encourage the user to be immersive and uses mobile phones to explore the game environment.

However, augment reality games offer a live view of the environment in the real world. Where players experience the real world with the digital gameplay. One example of an augment reality game is Pokémon Go.

As for virtual reality games, the environment within looks real and the sensors help to mimic movements in the gameplay. This is done using VR headsets or, using cardboard structures with a mobile phone and an app to act similar to the VR headset.

Online games contain various types of genres, the most common genres are:

  1. Role-Playing Game (RPG)

  2. Massive-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG)

  3. Arcade

  4. Adventure

  5. First-Person Shooter (FPS)

  6. Simulation game

  7. Real-Time Strategy game

  8. Single Player Game

What are the common online games played by children?

Certain online games for children provide a safe environment and allow them to experience multiplayer game mode. Such examples are:

  1. Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon (Online RPG)

  2. Just Dance 2020 (Multiplayer game)

  3. Minecraft (Single and multiplayer game)

  4. Star Wars Battlefront II (Action-shooter game)

  5. Splatoon 2 (3rd person shooter game)

  6. Fortnite (Multiplayer game)

  7. Terraria (Platform game)

  8. Rocket League (Sports game)

  9. Lego Kids (Game website)

  10. Super Bomberman R (Arcade game)

Contrary to beliefs, most games do not restrict the development of a child. As it provides various types of interactions in a form of education, children are able to pick up skills from games.

● Children are able to pick up problem-solving skills and better their creativity. Certain games use obstacles to encourage children to deploy creative methods in overcoming it. Some games encourage children to think, plan, customize and modify the elements within the game.

● Stories of the games contain historical and cultural information. This helps children to understand the information, and to take interest in world history, geography, ancient civilization and relationships among the countries.

● Children are able to understand the joy of competing with someone, as it is a normal and healthy behaviour. Children who are not good with sports are given the chance to excel in other things, making it a safe place for expressing competition.

Leadership and cooperating skills are improved as children are given the chance to lead and follow in the game. Their persuasion, motivation, and mediation skills will be developed as they play with peers from other age groups.

● Online games allow children to teach others how to play. This help the child to enjoy the game more as they watch others succeed from their teachings.

● Games help to improve the memory of the child as it changes their cognitive aspects. Adults who experience gaming are shown to do better in memory tasks compared to those who does not.

Occasionally, contents of online games may include violent, antisocial and aggressive behaviours. Without monitoring the contents within the game, the child may get affected negatively.

● Long exposure to violent behaviours in videos games may lead to children thinking that it is accepted and common. They may mimic such behaviours in real life towards others.

● Since online games operate with electronic devices, children who spend long hours gaming can be isolated. Other activities, such as reading, doing physical activities, interacting with their family and friends will lessen and impact their social life negatively.

● As children are gaming without being monitored, they are more likely to continue for long hours and be addicted. This will negatively impact their grades and school performances.

What are the risks of online gaming for children that parents should be aware?

Risks occur in games frequently, children should be aware and practise internet safety.

Contents within the online game can be unsuitable for children. Despite the high graphic quality of the game, some games contain violent or explicit sexual contents that cause the child to be fearful and horrified.

Multiplayer games typically have players that display toxic behaviours towards others. This includes offensive name-calling, insults, bullying, and vulgarities. Children can be easily tricked by someone to give out personal details to strangers in the game.

Long hours of gaming may negatively impact the child’s development and social life. Some websites may encourage children to download things that go against the copyright infringement. This will lead them into trouble as they are breaking the law.

Certain games contain in-app purchases and may entice children into buying it. This may result in the child spending money or getting into debts to complete something in the game.

Parents ought to be vigilant and teach their child about safe internet practices before letting them try online gaming. Despite being safe most of the time, online games can be a place where children get exploited easily.

What should parents do for children who enjoy online games?

Parents should set up parental control before allowing their child to play online games in the devices. Parental control tools help to protect the child’s privacy by locking privacy features in the game.

Parents may use a voice mask when their child is communicating to someone, or mute and disable the chat within the game.

The child should be taught not to give out personal information online, this includes pictures, contacts, numbers, etc. They are encouraged not to meet any strangers in real life that they know online.

Parents should teach the child to create names that are appropriate and follow the rule of the game. Parents should encourage the child to behave politely and be respectful to others in the online game.

Parents should talk and discuss to their child about the time available for them to play online games, as some may require longer duration to complete.

Parents should encourage their child to speak up if they are harassed or bullied online in games. As they can report such behaviours to the customer service team or the moderators. Parents may contact the police if they suspect their child is meeting or giving out personal details to a stranger.

Lastly, parents should look through games that are suitable for the child to try. They should not be encouraging their child to play online games that are inappropriate for their age.

I hope the information available helps you to understand more about online games for children and how to prepare your child before letting them try.

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