#PlayApartTogether – Julie Inman Grant, eSafety Commissioner
IGEA works with a vast array of stakeholders and industry professionals. We’ve all seen the increased popularity, and again the power of games in keeping people connected in these unprecedented times. As we navigate unchartered waters in dealing with a global pandemic, we’ve continued working with our games industry leaders and stakeholders on numerous projects and issues as they’ve arisen.
Recognising we all have a role to play in flattening the curve and stopping the spread of COVID-19, IGEA will be talking to leaders and policy makers about the entertainment they are consuming and how they are practising self-isolation and social distancing. We know many of them love digital games and we’d love to se what they are playing, what they recommend playing and if they have any tips or resources to share with the community.
First up, we spoke with the eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman-Grant and she shared some advice on how we can all safely #PlayApartTogether
What tasks are you undertaking to keep yourself (and/or your family) occupied during these times of self-isolation, and physical and social distancing?
When I’m not working, I like to do crossword puzzles and I quite enjoy playing Just Dance with my kids. It uses an Xbox controller that picks up your movement. You become an avatar onscreen and the best dance wins. My kids also quite enjoy Kahoot which we use as part of their school work. We’ve been watching a few family movies together, too.
Why these particular activities?/Do you play games alone or with others?
We try and play family fun games that involve everyone, rather than everyone being on their separate devices. Just Dance is great for this and I get to show my kids my killer moves, basically show them how it’s done.
What games are you playing?/What games are your family playing?
I was never a big gamer. I figured given my addiction to caffeine, if I started playing Fortnite I might never get off it. As I have mentioned, I do enjoy Just Dance. My 13-year-old doesn’t really play games, but my 8-year-old twins like Minecraft and Roblox. I’m always so amazed with what they can build.
Any games you recommend?
Kahoot which we’ve been doing for geography school work is fun and educational. Just Dance is great for the whole family to enjoy together and doubles as exercise. Minecraft and Roblox are great, but it’s important to sit with your kids when setting them up. My kids have friends only chats and only with people they know.
What resources do you recommend to help parents and carers manage and monitor game play for their children?
Most games now are interactive and fun, but this also makes them a risk, especially when they are co-mingled platforms. We really advise co-viewing and co-playing with your kids. It’s important to learn from them and engage with their online world and it can also be fun for both of you.
With most of us at home right now, it’s also a great opportunity for parents to talk to their kids about online safety and let them know they can always come to you for help if something goes wrong.
It’s also important to set some boundaries. We have a family plan for our kids which says when they can have devices and for how long. We have a bit of a roster going for school work, physical time, family dinner time, and one hour of device time.
I would encourage parents to have a look at our website esafety.gov.au and specifically our guide for parents. It gives helpful advice about the benefits and risks of different games, platforms and apps and how to set security settings properly. The guide can also help you recognise apps you might see your kids using on their devices and gives you useful information about them. We also have specific online safety advice for parents on our website which deals with the increased time kids are spending online while home from school during the COVID-19 pandemic.