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Apex Legends: a parent's guide

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Apex Legends is the latest gaming craze on-track to overtake Fortnite as the most popular ‘battle royale’ game. Although its concept and gameplay are similar to Fortnite, there are some key differences you may want to consider before letting your child play it. Here are some things parents should know about Apex Legends: 

What is Apex Legends?

Apex Legends is a free-to-play ‘battle royale’ game. A ‘battle royale’ game is where the player, sometimes with other members of a team, must find resources and eliminate/kill opponents in order to win. 
 
In Apex Legends, players control their characters in first-person and there is a greater focus on strategy. Players can choose to be one of eight characters — each with its own unique skill set which makes playing the game more nuanced and potentially more exciting.

What you need to be aware of

  • Rated 16+: Unlike some battle royale games, like Fortnite, Apex Legends has a PEGI 16 rating. That means that there is more emphasis on guns and weapons and any violence is shown more realistically - for example, when a player is shot, a small cloud of blood surrounds them.



    • Tip: You might want to have a look at some videos of the game in action before letting an under-16 child play. Although the game may not be especially gory for some players, seeing what it is like will help you make an informed decision about whether your child is ready for this or not. 
Have a look at the trailer for Apex Legends:

  • ‘Just one more’: Apex Legends is fast-paced and designed so that rounds last around 20-30 minutes — something that’s useful to know if you’re considering setting time limits for your child. It’s worth bearing in mind that the short format of this and similar games can make it tempting for children to play ‘just one more’ round.


    • Tip: It may be easier for children to stop when they have completed a round rather than being cut off mid-game. For example, if you allow your child two hours of gaming, they’d be able to complete approximately four whole rounds.



  • Loot boxes: Apex Legends is a free-to-play game, however, it makes money from small purchases done within the game - ‘microtransactions’. Players can buy ‘Apex Coins’ with real money which can be used to buy ‘Apex Packs’. Apex Packs are virtual treasure chests - ‘loot boxes’- that contain skins, weapon, outfits and banners players use to personalise and improve their game characters. The developers of Apex Legends have received some criticism for charging too much for items - with some things costing up to £8 each.


    • Tip: Discuss in-game purchases with your child — making sure that they understand that some things cost real money is important and that they need to be careful about what they click on. Be involved in any purchases your child makes so that they know that they shouldn’t be buying loot boxes without your say-so.

How to keep your child safer

  • Take an interest: Familiarise yourself with the games your child enjoys — it will give you a better understanding of what is being played and what risks they may encounter. 
It is also important to remember that playing together can actually be a great bonding experience. If your child picks up on your interest and you share some understanding about the game world and language, they may be more likely to talk to you if they find themselves in difficult situations.
  • Set up a private ‘squad’: Although playing with strangers in itself is not dangerous, it does increase the chance of your child getting in touch with someone who does not have their best interest at heart. If you’d prefer that your child only plays with people on their friends’ list, Apex Legends allows you to set up a ‘private party’. You can do this from the game’s control screen between matches.



  • Stay safer on chat: Apex Legends gives players the opportunity to communicate with others online through voice chat. Although this can be enjoyable for some children, it is important to note that it is not moderated and your child could be exposed to some foul language and possible bullying. Here are a few ways to help your child stay safer on chat:



    • ‘Ping’ system: Apex Legends has a built-in system which lets the player give commands through button clicking. Using the ‘ping’ system allows players to communicate to play the game without having to use voice and enter into full conversations. If you want to switch voice chat off altogether, you can do this from your console’s settings.



    • Muting: Make sure that your child knows how to mute other players. This may be needed if others are saying upsetting things. You can mute players by pressing the speaker icon next to each player on the inventory screen.


How to report abuse

If your child experiences something problematic whilst playing Apex Legends, it’s important that you both know how to report it and potentially get the player responsible blocked. The game’s publisher Electronic Arts (EA) has instructions on how to report harassment on its website.
 
If playing on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One you need to go through the consoles’ own reporting mechanisms, while on PC you go through EA’s reporting portal. Be sure to note down the username of the player you wish to report and try to include screenshots if you can.
 
The advice published on Parent Info is provided by independent experts in their field and not necessarily the views of Parent Zone or NCA-CEOP.

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