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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means
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It’s all fun and games

Try out some not-so-fun new rules and chat about the problems with online games.

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You’ll need

  • Equipment depends on chosen game

Before you begin

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.

Getting ready to run this activity

  • Play The gaming game as an introduction to staying safe online.
  • In this activity, everyone will play familiar games with new rules that mimic some of the things they may come across in online games. They’ll have the chance to chat about how the rules affected the game, and how they can stay safe when playing games online.

Chat about games

  1. Get everyone in a circle and ask everyone whether they play any online games. The games could be on a phone, tablet, games console or computer.
  1. Ask everyone if the games they play have any adverts, or any ways to spend real money to get things in the game.

Play a game

  1. As a group, everyone should choose their favourite quick game to play for this activity. You could choose a few games to try.
  2. The person leading the game should explain the new rules that make the game a bit more like an online game by mimicking some of the features people may come across.
  1. Everyone should get stuck into the game with the new rules.
  • Give teams a few tokens that they have to use to buy better equipment to improve their chances (or make the game last longer, for example, by having extra turns). Think about how you’ll exchange tokens while staying a safe distance apart and without multiple people touching the tokens.
  • Every time someone scores a point, everyone has to pause to sing a song. This means their game is interrupted and they have to wait, just like how adverts interrupt the game. Teams could even use some of their tokens to ‘skip the ad’.
  • Players have to give their name or some information about themselves to be allowed to join in.


Discuss and reflect

  1. Everyone should chat about how the new rules changed the game.
  1. Everyone should chat about the different things they may experience in online games and why it’s important to be careful when playing games online.

Online games include free games found on the internet, games on mobile phones, and games on other devices and consoles. This includes downloadable and boxed games on computers and consoles such as the PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo Switch. Internet connectivity in a game adds a new opportunity for gamers; it often allows players to find, chat with and play against (or with) other players from around the world. People can also chat to other players using messaging platforms for gamers, or watch livestreams of well-known gamers.

You can find out more about online games from Childnet and NSPCC.

Share these top tips for staying safe while playing online games:

  1. Remember that many video games are designed to make money, so think carefully about any purchases and speak with a parent or carer about setting up spending limits.
  2. Remember that the people we speak to online might not always be who they say they are – it’s very easy to give away false information online. Try to only speak to your friends and family.
  3. Be careful with what you share with other players, especially because not everyone will be who they say they are.
  4. Report and block other players that try to bully or harass you when gaming online. Keep any evidence of the incident, and speak to someone you trust about what has happened.
  5. Tell your parent, carer, or a trusted adult if someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, or if you or someone you know is being bullied online.
Instead of running a socially distanced game, you could run the game online. Change the new rules, for example, when someone scores a point, they have to mute for 10 seconds. This means their game is interrupted and they have to wait, just like how adverts interrupt some online games.


Staying safe online isn’t just limited to online games, but they’re a good place to start. When things like games or apps are free, the companies often make their money by selling people things or selling people’s information to advertisers.

What sort of information do people think online games or social media sites might know about people? How can people make sure they keep their information private?

Why is it important to think carefully before sharing information online? People could think about how not everyone is who they say they are. They could also think about the fact that once someone or something has information, it’s hard to take it back.

People should think about whether they’d want others to see things in the future, such as in 10 or 20 years’ time, before they share it online.


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed. Take a look at our guidance on running active games safely.

In this activity, people choose their own game – encourage people to choose something more challenging if they’re up to it. It’s also up to the person leading the game how tricky they make the new rules.

Make sure you choose a game (and rules) that work for everyone. It may help to choose a game you play regularly.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Learn more about the digital world we live in and how to stay safe within it with the Digital Citizen staged activity badge.