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What are esports? What do parents need to know?

The term ‘esports’ refers to video games played competitively by two or more opponents – increasingly by professional gamers for monetary gain in front of audiences both on and offline. They are organised competitions based around multiplayer games of strategy, combat or sport, with rules, referees and spectators.

What sort of games can be an esports? 

There are various types of games that can be played as an esports. There are two main ones: FPS (first-person shooters - such as Call of Duty) and MOBAs (multiplayer online battle arena - such as League of Legends, the world’s most played game currently). A MOBA generally consists of two teams that play as heroes with their own abilities and strengths. The aim is to destroy the other ‘hero’, gaining strengths and weakening their opponents’ base. Other esports include cards, fighting, sports and strategy games. 

Why might a child be interested in becoming an esport player? 

Many children will enjoy playing video games and want to pursue a career in something they are passionate about and enjoy practising or working hard at. They may be excited at the prospect of fame, cash prizes, the possibility of visiting different countries or meeting like-minded people. 

What if my child wants to be an esports professional? 

It is important to be supportive and express an interest in your child’s passion. Take a look at our top tips for how to support your child with their dream. (Click on 'Game responsibly' box on webpage) 

How can I ensure my child can’t access inappropriate games?

Check the PEGI standard ratings (Pan-European Game Information) for games that your child is interested in. Here are easy-to-follow instructions to help you set parental controls.

How do I know if the games my child watches online are age-appropriate?

There is no statutory restriction to enabling underage children to view age restricted video games online - allowing a child to view an 18+ game is not a statutory offence. However, responsible esports organisations request a user’s date of birth and use a PEGI rating as a guide. Talk to your child to find out what games they are playing, and watching, online and check the PEGI rating.

How do I know if my child is addicted to gaming?

It is important to look at the context. Watch out for significant behaviour or personality changes and whether it is affecting their school work or their social life rather than counting the number of hours they spend gaming or watching games.

Are there tools to help me to manage my child’s gaming? 

You can set controls to manage the amount of time your child spends on games, whether they can chat with other players and which games they can access.

Top tip: Give your child a five-minute warning when their time is nearly up. This can help avoid frustrating arguments and allows them to finish the game, or level they are on.

How can I stop my child running up bills whilst gaming? 

You can control and monitor in-app purchases using the parental controls for specific consoles. Make sure your credit card details are not saved onto any accounts to prevent accidental purchases. PEGI provide guidance on their website.

Further information:

Esports FAQs

British Esports Association

Worried about the gambling-like features in online games?

Visit the Gaming or Gambling hub for expert advice and information from Parent Zone and GambleAware.