The traditional view of safe gaming content for children is having non-violent content without any adult themes. Much like movies, parents should follow the rating guidelines attached to the game. The PEGI (Pan European Game Information) rating system is widely used in Europe and Ireland. As a parent, you should not let your child play a game that is not PEGI rated.
However, PEGI only considers appropriate gaming content. What about your child’s online information? Even without registering an account, most games track your gameplay data. Free-to-play games rely heavily on advertising, so they track as much player data as possible. So how do you protect your child’s online data?
Well to start, you need to make sure that the publisher/developer of the game has an available privacy statement, regarding their content. They need to acknowledge and comply with GDPR and have a nominated Data Protection Official. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) are the regulations in EU law on data protection and privacy. Essentially GDPR aims primarily to give control to individuals over their personal data .
Also, parents need to be aware of games that need registered accounts. Children (under 13) should not set up game accounts. They should be setup by the parents. For older children and teenagers, parents should still be aware of any game accounts registered. Even though they may not be commercial accounts, younger players could still be supplying personal information via the account. For many game companies, information in the new currency and players of all ages need to be aware of this.
The best advice for parents is to stay involved when your child is gaming. Like all online content, it is very important to maintain an open dialogue with your children on their online activities.