Teens teaching younger kids and their parents the ins-and-outs of gaming

Online gaming can play a big part in many families so a group of teens have developed a guide to help young gamers and their parents. Picture: Parilov via Shutterstock.
Online gaming can play a big part in many families so a group of teens have developed a guide to help young gamers and their parents. Picture: Parilov via Shutterstock.

A group of young people are pushing back against video game nay-sayers and challenging gaming assumptions by offering their experience and important perspectives in a new guide for young gamers.

A Gamer's Guide by Gamers is a handbook aimed at primary school students. It looks beyond safety to offer guidance on platforms, genre and appropriate behaviour, while sharing teenage gamers' best advice on what healthy gaming looks like.

Developed by national children's charity, the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, the resources created also include a video for parents and carers.

The video was filmed and edited by the team of young gamers exploring issues that matter to them, as well as sharing their perspectives and unique insights.

It brings their voice to the discussion when their perspective is so often overlooked or under-represented on these issues.

Online gaming plays a big part in many families, with nine out of 10 Australian homes having a device on which games are played, according to a 2020 report by Digital Australia (DA20).

The team of young people involved, reported a broad range of reasons for why they are passionate about gaming. For 17-year-old Robin, it is all about the journey.

"For strategy games I really like the feeling of building something up," he said.

Sixteen-year-old Hamish said the point of gaming is to socialise and connect.

"I try and play with as many friends as possible, and we make a party chat and just have fun and laugh about what happens during the game."

An section from the guide on healthy gaming tips. Picture: Supplied.

An section from the guide on healthy gaming tips. Picture: Supplied.

Research shows more than 80 per cent of Australian children aged eight to 17 have played an online game, with regular players spending about 100 minutes per day, and online multi-player gaming attracting six in 10 young people, according to esafety.gov.au.

Young people are very aware of the benefits and challenges, as well.

"We play games because they are fun and because we love a challenge. We love the stories, the characters, the art. We want to keep gaming that way," Sam, aged 18, said.

These young people also provide advice that experts who are non-gamers just can't.

Peri, aged 16, advises you switch servers as a strategy for safety.

"If I see something, or if someone says something I would either switch servers, or block that person," she said.

 Sam, aged 18 (on left) says he loves the challenge gaming offers. Peri, aged 16 (right) offers safety advice to young gamers that non-gamers aren't able to. Pictures: Supplied.

Sam, aged 18 (on left) says he loves the challenge gaming offers. Peri, aged 16 (right) offers safety advice to young gamers that non-gamers aren't able to. Pictures: Supplied.

Sixteen-year-old Illuka talks about focusing on balance and your health and well-being.

"I have to remember to take time to drink water. I take 20 minutes, in between matches ... Oh and never turn down dinner," Illuka said.

The Foundation's project manager, Dan Donahoo, said the project is about accentuating the positive.

"This project breaks down the assumption that young people, particularly gamers, don't care or think about issues such as communicating respectfully online, having a balanced use of technology and practicing good online safety," he said.

An excerpt from the guide on some safety tips. Picture: Supplied.

An excerpt from the guide on some safety tips. Picture: Supplied.

"We want this to be a celebration of all the positive aspects of gaming. Video games are a fun and worthwhile pastime. There are many benefits.

"We hope this guide will not only help young gamers improve their gaming experience, but also increase parents' comfort levels and start those all-important conversations."

This story Teens release handbook to help others navigate gaming world first appeared on The Canberra Times.