At Childnet, we regularly deliver online safety training sessions in schools to pupils, parents, carers and teachers. Recently we have noticed an increasing number of young people talking about the game ‘Apex Legends’. In this blog we are giving guidance to parents and carers about Apex Legends looking at what the game is and some of the key things to be aware of.
What is Apex Legends?
Apex Legends is an online game which is free to play. Apex Legends is known as a ‘Battle Royale’ game where players join small ‘squads’ of 3 players and then fight other players to be the last squad standing.
Each match is capped at 60 players (20 squads) and each individual player can pick to play as one of eight characters, all of whom have their own special skills and offensive abilities.
What age rating is Apex Legends?
Apex has a PEGI rating of 16. PEGI have said this is because it ‘features sustained depictions of violence towards human characters and moderate violence. Not appropriate for persons below 16 years of age.’
This PEGI rating only takes into account the content in the game and not the contact element, where players may be exposed to swearing and other offensive language from strangers in voice or on-screen text chat.
What do I need to know?
- You need to create an account
In order to play Apex Legends you have to create an account. To create this account you need to provide:
- an email address (which you will have to verify)
- a display/user name
- your age
- Where you can play
Apex Legends is free to download on Xbox One, PS4 and PC from the Apex Legends website or from the Xbox, Origin or PS4 store.
- You are playing against other players
As Apex Legends is an online game you will play against and communicate with players of different ages from across the world. Voice-chat is commonly used in the game in order to communicate with other players, plan strategy and navigate through the game.
The game also offers another method of communication called ‘pings’. A ping is an automated messages (both auditory and on-screen) sent to other members of your squad. Different pings can be used to indicate different events in the game for example, asking for help or marking a location.
In voice chat, you can mute individual players or can turn off the feature permanently. It is also possible to mute pings from other players, however many young people find that the ‘ping’ feature is key to the game.
- You can team up with people you know
Although the game is designed so that you and your squad are competing against other players of different ages from across the world. We would recommend that young people choose their own team, joining up with friends and family members to create a squad. As most of the in game communication is with your squad members, this may be a safer option for children. If you do not select your own squad then players will get randomly allocated a squad with two strangers.
- The graphics
Apex Legends is first-person shooter game, this means that you see events in the game through the eyes of your character and can mean that the visuals are more realistic.
The game does feature violence and blood, however this is animated and not overly gory however, there are certain moves within the game such as ‘finisher moves’ that specifically execute defenceless enemies. There are also options for chemical gas attacks that can be used on multiple enemies in order to kill them.
- You can make in-game purchases
Apex Coins is the premium currency in Apex Legends and can be used to purchase Apex Packs, characters and items in the in-game shop. The price of Apex coins range from £7.99 to over £79.99
Currently there is no in-game report system. The game currently requires you to make your complaints externally, instead of being able to report someone in the game for bad language, cyberbullying, or ruining the experience for others.
On PC, you have to open the offending player’s profile in Origin (which is EA’s game client), and report them from there. On console EA’s website sends PS4 players to the PlayStation guide for reporting PSN users and Xbox One players to Microsoft’s code of conduct page for Xbox Live.
It looks hopeful that that Apex Legends will bring out a report button, however the aim of this is to specifically report cheating within the game rather than specifically for players displaying inappropriate behaviours such as cyberbullying.
Have an open and honest conversation with your child
It’s important to involve yourself in your child’s online life and a simple and effective way to do this is by talking to them. Try to maintain an open dialogue with your child and find opportunities to talk to them about what they love to do online as well as the risks.
Ask your child about whether they play Apex Legends and what they like about it. Our conversation starters can help you get started.
Play Apex Legends with your child
It may seem daunting, but one of the best things that you can do is to engage with the gaming environment and begin to understand what makes Apex so attractive to young people. Be interested, ask questions, and watch them play the game - or better still play with them.
Give your child strategies to deal with upsetting or inappropriate behaviour
As Apex Legends doesn’t yet have a block feature or an easy-to-use report option, talk to your child about what other things they can do if they encounter inappropriate behaviour on the game. Remind them to talk to you about it, leave the game if they feel uncomfortable and play with people they know and trust.
Restrict in-game purchases
Parents can prevent their children from running up unwanted bills by ensuring that no credit card is associated with their account or console. Ensure you child knows the reasons why they aren’t allowed to purchase items within the game or talk together to set a budget for them to stick to. Some children may not understand it is real money which is being spent, when in the game it’s referred to as Apex Coins. Find out more about how to restrict in-app purchases here.
See what other people think of Apex Legends
Common Sense Media allow parents and young people to write reviews of games that they have played, which can provide interesting insights on why the game is popular, how to use it safely and possible dangers to avoid. Read their review here.