Safer Gaming – A Guide for Parents

Gaming is the act of playing electronic games or video games on a game console (Xbox/Playstation), personal computer, handheld device (Nintendo/Game Boy) or mobile device (phone/tablet), in other words ‘playing video games’. The term ‘gaming’ is also used to describe the practice of gambling, in particular casino gambling and poker machines.

Modern video games are exciting, rewarding and engaging. People often spend extended lengths of time playing these games. Players can become completely absorbed in a game and play for long hours. Increased skill can mean more time spent playing to get the same level of enjoyment. Players can often experience withdrawal when trying to stop gaming.

As with drug use and gambling, excessive gaming can overstimulate a chemical in our brains (called dopamine) which helps control feelings of pleasure and reward. When overstimulated the chemical can make us crave activities that aren’t good for us.

When children start playing games it’s important for parents to understand the risks and help children enter the world of gaming as safely as possible.