Child Safety Online
September 25, 2023

A parent’s guide to League of Legends

League of Legends is one of the most popular multiplayer online battle arena games out there, but there are some safety considerations parents will want to know about.

League of Legends (also known as “LoL” or simply “League”) is undoubtedly one of the most popular online games in the world. With millions of players battling on the Fields of Justice, it's a gaming phenomenon that has captured hearts and minds alike. But, it’s complex and competitive by nature, so parents often wonder whether League of Legends is safe for their children. In this article, we'll explore what LoL is all about, weigh the pros and cons for kids and share tips on how to make it safer.

What is League of Legends?

League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game from Riot Games. In LoL, players take on the role of a champion, each with unique abilities, and work together in teams to destroy the opposing team's Nexus, the core structure in their base. It's a game of strategy, teamwork and skill that demands quick thinking, tactical decision-making and collaboration.

Should kids play League of Legends?

Now, let's address the million-dollar question. Because no two kids are alike, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. But, we can break down the pros and cons of gameplay to help you decide what’s right for your kids.

In the pro category, playing LoL can help kids develop cognitive skills like problem-solving, critical thinking and strategic planning. And, gameplay promotes teamwork and communication as players coordinate with their teammates to win. LoL connects players from all over the world, providing opportunities for cultural exchange and friendships. And for serious gamers, LoL offers opportunities to join e-sports leagues, which can give kids similar benefits to organized sports.

Now onto the drawbacks: The game's complexity might be overwhelming for younger children. In addition, LoL can be highly competitive, leading to frustration and stress for some kids. And perhaps most importantly, there is the potential for kids to come into contact with strangers. With in-game interactions, kids might encounter inappropriate language from other players. In fact, many parents find that their kids see lots of toxic behavior while playing LoL, so it’s definitely worth taking into account, especially for younger users.

How to make League of Legends safer

If you decide your kid is ready for LoL, it's important to look out for their safety while gaming. Here are some strategies to make League of Legends safer:

  • Set up parental controls and age-appropriate restrictions to limit your child's exposure to certain game features. Note that the chat function is automatically enabled when you begin playing, so if you don’t want your kids to connect with their teammates, you’ll need to disable the chat.
  • Keep an eye on your child's playtime to ensure a healthy balance between gaming and other activities. LoL is a compelling game and lots of kids (and adults!) can easily lose track of time while battling.
  • Talk to your kids about online safety, and make sure they know not to share personal information. It’s also a good idea to ensure they’re familiar with the reporting tools in LoL so that they can report anything that makes them uncomfortable.
  • Chat about in-game purchases and monitor spending to avoid unintended costs.
  • Have an ongoing dialogue with your kids about their gaming, addressing any concerns or issues that may arise.

What else should parents know about League of Legends?

In League of Legends, in-game purchases are a fundamental aspect of the game's monetization model. While the core gameplay is free, players have the option to enhance their gaming experience through a variety of in-game purchases. These fall into several categories, including cosmetic items, champions and in-game currency. Cosmetic items, like skins, ward skins and emotes, allow players to personalize the appearance of their champions and add a touch of uniqueness to their gameplay.

Champions, which are the playable characters in the game, can be acquired through in-game currency (Blue Essence) earned by playing or through a separate currency (Riot Points) that can be purchased with real money. It's important to note that while in-game purchases can enhance aesthetics and convenience, they do not provide a competitive advantage. So, if kids try and make a case for extra money to up their performance, know that they can battle just fine without.

Is League of Legends right for your family?

League of Legends can offer valuable experiences for kids, including skill development and teamwork. However, it also comes with potential risks, including exposure to mature content and toxic behavior. Given the need for collaboration in LoL, it might be more suitable for older children than younger kids. With informed decision-making, responsible gaming habits, and open communication, you can determine whether League of Legends is a worthwhile addition to your family's gaming repertoire. Remember, it's not just about the game itself but how you manage and engage with it as a family.

Image credit: Smederevac / Getty Images

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