Understanding video games and online gaming

Australia’s Interactive Games and Entertainment Association(external link) found that:

Videogames are a great way for young people to explore their identity, challenge adult norms and boundaries, experiment with relationships, and practice new behaviours. However, gaming can become problematic when young people play games that are designed for older audiences and exposed to online bullying or unwanted contact. By understanding the potential risks and challenges involved in gaming, you can support your child to have safer gaming experiences.

Talking to your whānau to about gaming

Netsafe has developed the Online Gaming Toolkit(external link), which has suggestions on how parents and caregivers can support young gamers to navigate challenges they encounter when gaming. The toolkit is constructed around seven practical steps that help parents and caregivers to feel confident and equipped to help their children stay safe online.

Parental controls for gaming

The 2022 Digital New Zealand report(external link) found that only half of parents and caregivers use parental controls with games. Online games vary and some have challenging content such as extreme violence or sexual themes. It is important for you to decide what is appropriate for you child.

Below is information on how to manage your child's account, age rating and parental controls on different gaming platforms:

Concerned about your child’s gaming

Videogames can provide a sense of belonging and help create a sense of identity, but they are designed to be addictive. Like any addiction there are some warning signs. Head First recommends you look out for the following in your children:


Information and advice about concerning gaming behaviour is available from the below organisations: