What are reporting tools? How do I help my child report inappropriate behaviour when playing video games?


Back to top

While playing, some video games allow players to connect with other players in the game. Online video games are spaces where people can imagine, explore and, most of all, have fun with other players. For children, these interactions may be with school friends, or with other players in the game who you or your child do not know. As a parent, you always have the option of blocking your child’s online interactions while playing, including the option to block other players, restrict communication features entirely or restrict features for selected game titles. If you choose to allow your child to interact with others, you can keep them safe by using parental control tools such as those mentioned below.

Take advantage of parental control tools

Parental control tools, such as the ones listed below, enable you to manage your child's online interactions through a smartphone app. We recommend that you use these tools, not only to monitor their gameplay, but also to initiate discussions with your child about what they are permitted to do and what they should know about reporting tools and features that allow blocking players or reporting inappropriate behaviour.

We always recommend that you set up parental controls before giving your child access to the device. Take the extra time to set up the device before handing it over to your child, as well as to set up the parent and child accounts, which are both a couple of clicks away.

The parental controls tools are designed to help you as a parent, but they do not replace the time you spend together playing with your child or talking about the games they enjoy.

Understand community rules, the block feature and reporting tools

Community rules and guidelines: Each video game has community rules and guidelines that players who engage in in online gameplay must follow. Failing to do so can result in them being blocked, banned, or having their account closed. To ensure the safety of the online gameplay environment, tools and safeguards such as age gating, reporting tools, filtering software, moderation, and muting tools are used in addition to the community rules. These processes are mandated by the PEGI Code of Conduct.

Blocking disruptive players: While playing, and without interfering with their play, your child can block or unblock players to prevent disruptive players from messaging or voice chatting with them. When such players are blocked, your child will no longer be able to receive friend requests, messages, or game invitations from them. Even if you don't play with your child, make sure he or she is aware that they can do this. As a parent, you want to give your child the tools he or she needs to make the right decisions. And if your child is aware that you are paying attention, it will be easier and more natural for him or her to share his or her online experience with you.

Reporting content: Though it is rare, if you or your child encounter inappropriate behaviour such as bad language, bullying, trolling, unwanted or inappropriate advances, threatening behaviour, or other players encouraging self-harm, you can report it immediately using the in-built reporting tools. Here’s how:

What happens when you report inappropriate content?

Each report is reviewed by a team of moderators to determine whether the behaviour violates the community rules, or code of conduct of the online platform on which it is being played. If it does, the content is removed, and appropriate action is taken against the player who shared it. Importantly, suspended players have no way of knowing who filed the complaint when it is registered. This safeguards your privacy while also keeping you safe.

Kids know the tech. Parents are not so far behind

While we know that many parents are aware of parental controls and family settings, we were not sure if every parent is aware of the presence of reporting tools in the game. To gain a better understanding of this, we decided to survey players and parents. We discovered that, while a large number of parents (96%) take action, not all of them are aware of the built-in reporting tools. In addition, we discovered that players from age 11 upward are the most likely to use reporting tools. While the priority is to take action, whatever form that action may take, we hope that this article assists parents and players in using the existing built-in reporting tools, as well as providing information to parents on how to ensure a safe online environment for your children if they interact with others while playing.