What You Should Know About The Risks of Online Gaming

children and technology parents technology wellness Oct 15, 2018

by Angela Cummings and Sophia Ruan Gushée


The number of hours children spend gaming has increased from 10.7 to 12.2 hours per week between 2013 and 2017. And the worldwide online gaming industry is projected to rise to $2.2 trillion by 202. So the amount of time children spend gaming will most likely increase further.


What is online gaming?

Online gaming refers to playing games on the internet using a computer, a gaming console, or even a mobile phone.

The types of games children can play range from sports-themed games, to restaurant simulations, to mission-based first-person shooters.

The ability to communicate with other gamers online is what makes online gaming different from traditional gaming which also increases the risks associated with it.


Types of online gaming

Below are a few types of online gaming.

  • Web-based games. These types of games can be played using specific websites or downloading an application on your computer. This also includes social media-based games, like Facebook’s FarmVille, which allow you to connect with other players.

  • Mobile games. As the name suggests, these are games and applications that can be downloaded on your phone. Many are free to play initially but often introduce extra charges.

  • Handheld games. Similarly to mobile games, these can be downloaded on your iPad or a device like Nintendo’s DSI. The pay-to-play model is also quite popular with these types of games.

  • Console games. These can be played using entertainment consoles such as XBox, Nintendo, and PlayStation, which are usually connected to your TV. You can download them online or purchase physical copies in store.


How online gaming could be harmful to your child

There are multiple risks associated with online gaming (as opposed to traditional gaming):

  • Inappropriate content. Some online games may contain violent or sexual imagery that is inappropriate for your child. (Check that your parental settings are active on your computers and consoles to prevent your kids from accessing these types of games.)

  • Abuse/harassment. In multiplayer games, it’s possible for others to send messages to your child. As a result, children can sometimes experience abuse or harassment coming from other players.

  • Invasion of privacy. Sometimes kids can unknowingly include personal details or contact information on their profiles, which can lead to real-life consequences later on.

  • Expensive Pay to Play model. While most online games are free to download, they often offer additional content or functionality, which users can purchase after they have started playing. If you don’t have a password for in-app purchases, it can be very easy to rack up a pretty substantial bill.


Final Thoughts

Children are spending more time playing online video games, and experts project that the amount of time will continue to increase. There are different types of online gaming: web-based, mobile, handheld, and console games. While each type is different, the risks associated are the same across all types of gaming.  

If you’d like to know more about keeping your child safe, check out our article on tips for parents looking to establish a healthier relationship with online gaming.

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Ruan Living simplifies a nontoxic lifestyle through its Practical Nontoxic Living podcast, free detox workshops, online D-Tox Academy, and transformative 40-Day Home Detox. It aims to help you avoid toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from what you buy, own, and do— without compromising your joy and convenience. Ruan was founded by Sophia Ruan Gushée, author of the bestselling critically acclaimed book A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Your Toxic Exposures and several detox workbooks. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Business School, Sophia has served on the Brown University School of Public Health Advisory Council and Well+Good Council. A popular nontoxic living speaker, consultant, and teacher, Sophia lives in New York City with her husband and three daughters. Her passion for empowering others to enjoy nontoxic living began with the birth of her first daughter in 2007. Everything she creates is a love letter to her children and for the healthiest, brightest future possible. You can learn more here: Sophia’s Impact.


This article is for informational purposes only. This information is provided “as is” without warranty.

It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. We do not offer medical advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other opinion on your conditions or treatment options. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Ruan Living.

In no event will Sophia Ruan Gushee or Ruan Living be liable for any damages or loss of any kind resulting from the use of this website. Anyone relying upon or making use of the information on this website does so at his or her own risk.

Some of the services and products recommended on this website provide compensation to Sophia Ruan Gushee or Ruan Living. All recommendations are based foremost upon an honest belief that the product, service, or site will benefit our site visitors in some way.  

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