One of the most exciting aspects of modern video games is playing with other people online. It's a big step from playing something like Mario Kart with family and friends in the same room to going online to play with people you don't know.
With the benefits and opportunities of online play come the issues and potential dangers of children interacting with people they don't know. We've worked with the Breck Foundation to create this list of games that are great for parents, carers and children to take first steps online together.
The Breck Foundation is a charity founded by Lorin LaFave after the tragic burder of her 14-year old son, Breck Bednar, in 2014, through online grooming. Breck was groomed while enjoying his passions of computing and gaming. The foundation aims to ensure that no child is harmed through grooming and exploitation while enjoying their time on the internet.
After speaking with Lorin on BBC Radio, together, we hatched an idea to offer this resource to help anchor online gaming as a part of family life. By playing online with your child from an early age you create a context where mistakes are made together. This establishes an open conversation where your child is more likely to tell you if something happens online that doesn't feel right, and more likely to listen to your ongoing advice and guidance.
This works with Breck Foundation's, ‘Play virtual, Live real’ motto that reminds children to never meet up alone in a private place with someone they have met only online, to ensure that online play is safe, enjoyable and connected to attentive adults.
The games in this list offer small steps to go from local play to online play. Some games, like Roblox are designed for young players with lots of special safety settings. Other games, like Sky, are designed to lead players into co-operating with each other with in-game purchases you give away, and interactions that start limited and expand as you gain experience. Then there are co-operative games like Ibb and Obb where you work together and communicate with gestures on the screen.
You can use Family Settings and Parental Controls on your system to limit how your child interacts with other players online. As well as finding the right games to get them started, it's also important that you play with them and keep game screens in shared family spaces so you can see what they are doing.
This list includes 30 games from the last 29 years, with 888 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to dip your toe into online games.