Keeping safe online 1: Game types

Setting the scene

The Internet offers access to a wide range of viewpoints, with opportunities to learn to distinguish between good and bad content and to make choices about what to engage in, developing ‘digital literacy’ – a core skill in the twenty-first century. Peer pressure in particular can be challenged when families or groups use stories raised through digital media, allowing young people to identify and live out their core values, online and offline.

Guardians of Ancora is virtual interactive game, designed to offer children (aged 8–11) a faith-nurturing environment in an innovative and immersive digital experience that will enable them to know the good news of Jesus Christ and develop a lasting relationship with God, through Bible engagement and prayer.

Game types

Not all games are the same. Based upon guidance from the Institute of Education, here is an overview to help you understand the different kinds of games that your child may be playing:

  • Guardians of Ancora is part of a collection of three-dimensional (3D) virtual worlds, based on real-world or imaginary environments, where users interact using 3D game characters (sometimes referred to as ‘avatars’).
  • Games accessed via the Web are usually designed for shorter play sessions, offering limited interactivity with other players, but higher returns are offered with continued participation. Games such as Candy Crush on Facebook would fall into this category. 

  • Online PC games are often downloaded or purchased via CD or DVD because they contain extensive graphics, and offer more in-game interaction with other players. Similar games downloaded from the Internet are also now becoming increasingly common.
  • Console-based online games offer online services that connect users of its console, such as Xbox Live. Players can connect with others of similar ability or common language to play together. Increasingly these games are linked in with social networks. 

  • Multiplayer games, which can be on any platform, typically connect a few human players for the length of a single play session, such as a sports match.
  • Massively multiplayer online games (MMOG), such as World of Warcraft, create an ongoing world. Players 
create a character and will expect to play this for several months, with many other players.

Dr Bex Lewis

Dr Bex Lewis is the Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint and the author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014), where you can find more information. Passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way and trained as a mass communications historian, Dr Lewis is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University, with a particular interest in digital culture and how this affects the third sector, especially faith organisations, voluntary organisations and government behavioural campaigns.