It’s not just great gaming skills that your child needs when playing online. They also need to know what it takes to Play Smart and stay safe. That’s why we’ve created four simple steps to power-up your family’s safety knowledge and help get the conversation started with your little gamer.
Think twice before surrendering your details
People and platforms online may seem friendly, but this isn’t always the case. Your child should never share personal details or passwords, and always pause to ask: Do I know this person well? Is this game made for me or someone older? If they are unsure, it’s best they check with a trusted grown-up.
How you can help
Encourage your child to always ask “why” a digital service or game requests their details. For example, does that game really need their location? Help them select privacy settings or use parental controls that you’re comfortable with as a family.
Be game wise about who you play with
Teach your child that not everything and everyone is as they seem online – a common method of stealing information is to pretend to be someone you would trust. So, to stay safe and Play Smart, simply remember: If you don’t know them, don’t game with them.
How you can help
Children need to understand that not everything they read or see online is true and that information can be misinterpreted or misrepresented. Encourage your child to use good judgement and fact-checking skills so they know who and what to trust online and what to challenge or ignore.
It’s important your child is honest and kind when they play online because actions can have consequences. Their online behaviour shapes their digital identity so remind your child to game respectfully and remember that there’s a person behind every screen.
How you can help
Many games have anti-bullying tools to restrict who can view and comment on posts and connect as a friends. As well as simply blocking a bully, reporting them helps show the wrongdoer that their behaviour is unacceptable.
Talk about the importance of losing and winning with the same good spirit, and how to be supportive of new players. Helping someone who’s struggling with a game or sending an encouraging emoji or comment can make a big difference.
Balance your play with screen time skills
Most days you and your child will interact with a digital screen through television, gaming, chatting or getting the latest news. It’s all fun and can be beneficial, but too much can negatively affect a child’s well-being and focus.
How you can help
Help your child understand the difference between active and passive screen time, for example, being actively engaged in a video game is different to passively scrolling through videos. Talk to your child about what they enjoy most online, introducing topics such as why balance is good and the importance of regular breaks.
More ways to Play Smart
There’s obviously more to keeping your child safe online than the 4 steps we’ve shared. So, here’s some handy general advice and tips to help you know what to look out for and what to do if something happens.
Stay in the loop to stay safe
Let your child know that they can always come to you or another trusted grown-up for help if they’re in doubt or feel like they’ve gotten into a mess. Having regular chats is a great way to connect with them around something they care about and can help you spot any challenges they might be facing. Check out our free and fun Build & Talk activities here to help you get the conversations started with younger children.
The most important thing to remember
If your child isn’t sure if someone or something they’ve seen is true or have doubts about sharing something, let them know they can always check with you or another trusted grown-up.
Let’s talk scams and security breaches
Anyone can accidentally click on a scam link, so it’s important your child knows they can come to you for support if it happens to them. If a password is compromised, you should log out of all devices attached to that account immediately and set up a new strong password. Remember, online search engines can often be a fast-track for help and guidance on specific platforms.
They wish they hadn’t shared that
If your child has shared something that they later wish they hadn’t, help them delete it straight away. Just be aware it might not be truly gone forever as digital footprints can be saved in places we can’t readily see. If they’ve upset someone, help them take responsibility for the situation by reaching out to the other person to offer an apology, and ask to understand why they became upset, so the situation can be avoided in the future.
Raising digitally smart families
For more interactive guides, games and play activities designed to help parents and caregivers raise digitally smart families, step this way.
Level up your safety skills with Smart Dash
We’ve created a new game to help your kids level up their online know-how and make the internet a safer place. It even has a two-player mode, so why not play with your child and learn together? Simply race down the track and solve the challenges on safe gaming, collecting positive emojis along the way as you dash to become an online safety hero.