When it comes to understanding more about video games and the role they play in your child’s life, our experts in the Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s ‘By Gamers, for Gamers’ project have a clear piece of advice – talk to your young gamer.
As part of this project we worked with a group of teenage gamers, and asked them to provide advice to parents about online gaming. Every one of them suggested you sit down and either watch or, even better, play video games with your child to get a better understanding of the importance and value gaming has for those who play games.
The Digital Australia 2020 Report identified that most Australian households have at least one gaming device, many have more. And, at least two-thirds of Australians play video games, with 50 per cent of gamers being female and about 80 per cent over the age of 18.
Our ideas of what video games are, who plays them and why are horribly outdated – our ‘By Gamers, for Gamers’ project only further demonstrates this.
Kalani (17) shared how video games are rich in story and are deeply entertaining. In fact, he sees them in the same way as books, television or movies.
Meanwhile, Peri (16) is well aware of the need to be thoughtful and considerate of how and who you engage with others online yet, like many like her, told stories about meeting people and making great friendships with those she plays games with online.
While the media and purveyors of ‘expert advice’ warn young people that danger lurks at every turn on the internet, these young people – who actually spend time in online gaming communities – have a very different experience to share, and advice to give.
For them, most people are genuine and interested in having a positive experience playing video games online. In our guide book for primary students, these young people share their strategies on how to best avoid situations that are uncomfortable, scary or concerning.
It helps parents remove the fear that comes with ignorance and shows us all how our children can help us navigate to a more balanced and more protective approach to support gamers – young and old.