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Common Sense Media

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Overview of Online Games

Kids are playing online games now more than ever. With some multi-player games (MMOGs), thousands of kids can play online together. But some games might not be appropriate for younger children. And in some cases, kids can compromise their safety by not following basic rules for online gaming.

This will give you tips on how to make sure your kids play MMOGs safely and appropriately—and have fun! These tips are brought to you by Best Buy and Common Sense Media. Common Sense Media is a non-partisan, non-profit resource that helps families and educators teach kids how to be safe and smart in today’s 24/7 media world. Go to www.commonsense.com for thousands of reviews and expert advice.

Top Common Sense Media Tips for Parents

Know before they go!
Not all games carry ratings so it's important to check them out before your kids do. Go to www.commonsense.com for independent reviews.

Nothing in life is totally free.
To play these games competitively, they require purchasing cards, subscriptions, toys, or other merchandise. Talk to your kids about how much you feel comfortable investing in these games.

Set time limits.
Before your kids turn on the computer, make sure they know when they're expected to turn it off.

Have a code of conduct.
Make sure you go over the rules with your kids about what is and isn't okay to say or do. Establish a no-bullying policy and make sure they know to report any bullying behavior (both on the site and to you) that happens to them.

Review cyber safety rules.
No personal identifiers like names, addresses or phone numbers. No sharing passwords, pick gender neutral names.

MMOG /Virtual World Dictionary

Check out some of the most common terms used in online games and keep up with your kid when they ask you for the latest game—or when they’re texting or emailing their friends.


Avatar: A player’s virtual representation of themselves

Clan: A group of players who regularly play together

MMOG /MMORPG: Massively Multiplayer Online (Role Playing) Game

Newb: Term used to identify new players

Virtual goods: Objects purchased in virtual worlds that can only be used while playing the game