Although at times they can feel a little confusing, take the time to understand them and they can be a positive thing for families to enjoy together.
These tips will help you decide which game, tablet, smartphone or console is right for you.
Lots of people play games online. Some games are small and simple, like the games on the childline website. Others are large multiplayer games where you can play against hundreds of other people who you might not know.
Staying safe and keeping your personal information private is very important. Not everyone is who they say they are online, so make sure you don't share your name, age, address and location with anyone.
It can be easy to get angry or upset when you're playing games online too, but there are some ways to make sure you stay in control.
Games are designed to keep you coming back for more, if you ever feel yourself getting easily annoyed or getting tired, take a break for a while or reduce your gaming time.
Four Top tips for staying safe online:
- There's nothing wrong with losing - sometimes you'll win and sometimes you'll lose
- 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 time for your family and friends, other social activities and homework
Keeping it to yourself
It's important to keep your personal information safe. So try to remember:
- Don't use any personal information
This could be your full name, home address, phone number or the name of your school
- Use a nickname
Don't use your real name.Choose a nickname 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 don't share their details with others.
In some online games, you can talk to other players through a headset, often known as 'voice chat'. The other person might seem friendly but remember they are still strangers. It's important to be safe, so don't agree to meet up with anyone you don't know.
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.
If other players make you feel uncomfortable or keep asking personal questions, hang up or cancel the chat and tell a trusted adult.
Things to remember when you're playing online
- Games are meant to be fun
It’s not okay for people to be nasty about how well or badly you play a game, everyone who plays has different experience and skills. If a game stops being fun because of how other people play, play with different people. Or play a different game
- Block players who harass you
Most games will have the ability to block other players, if you’re being harassed or bullied by someone else, you can always block or mute them
- Not everyone will be friendly
Playing games can be a great way to talk to people and share something you enjoy. Not everyone will be nice though. Some people "troll" and say nasty things just because they can. Usually because they can do it anonymously. When someone says something nasty online that’s not okay. And it’s not your fault