Esports for Kids: Guiding Your Child in the World of Competitive Gaming

As esports continues to captivate the younger generation, many parents find themselves at a crossroads, weighing the benefits and concerns of competitive gaming. Esports for kids, a burgeoning segment of digital culture, offers both opportunities for growth and challenges in terms of content suitability. Squid Academy’s in-depth guide aims to provide parents with comprehensive insights into the esports landscape, helping you make informed choices about your child’s engagement in competitive gaming.


The Rise of Esports Among the Youth


Esports’ popularity among children and teenagers is undeniable, transforming from a niche hobby to a mainstream phenomenon. This shift has prompted a closer examination of esports’ impact on young minds, highlighting the need for guidance and understanding from parents.


Also Read: The Need for Esports Education: Shaping the Future of Learning


Esports Age Restrictions: Navigating the Guidelines


One of the primary concerns for parents is the age appropriateness of esports content. Leagues and tournaments often implement age restrictions to protect younger players from mature themes. These guidelines vary across different games and leagues, reflecting the diverse nature of esports titles and their intended audiences.

Video Game Rating Authority logos (PEGI and ESRB)


Deciphering Game Ratings: A Parent’s Toolbox


Game ratings by PEGI (Pan European Game Information) and ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) are crucial tools for parents. These ratings evaluate games on violence, language, and thematic elements, guiding parents on the appropriateness of esports titles for their children.

PEGI Ratings Unpacked:

PEGI 3: Appropriate for all ages, offering universal content.
PEGI 7: Suitable for young children, with non-realistic violence.
PEGI 12: For children 12 and over, may include mild violence.
PEGI 16: Targeted at children 16 and over, with realistic violence.
PEGI 18: Exclusively for adults, featuring explicit content.

ESRB Ratings Explained:

E (Everyone): Games fit for all ages.
T (Teen): Suitable for ages 13 and up, with more mature content.
M (Mature): Designed for players 17 and up, featuring mature themes.


Formal vs. Informal Esports Leagues: Making the Right Choice


The distinction between formal and informal esports leagues is crucial. Informal leagues, often organized by educational institutions or community groups, typically cater to younger audiences with restrictions on game content. In contrast, formal leagues focus on professional competitive gaming, with age limits that reflect the mature nature of many popular esports titles.

logos of popular esports titles - League of Legends, Rocket League, Dota 2, PUBG Mobile, Street Fighter, CSGO, EA Sports FC, Valorant and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six


Selecting the Right Esports Titles for Your Child


Choosing the right games is pivotal in ensuring a positive esports experience. Below is an expanded overview of age-appropriate esports games:


Diving Deeper into Popular Esports Games


League of Legends (LoL)

Description: This MOBA game pits two teams against each other with the goal of destroying the opponent’s base, emphasizing teamwork and strategic play.
Platform: PC
Format: Team-based competition
Market Size: One of the world’s largest esports communities with millions of players.
PEGI Rating: 12, for non-realistic violence against human characters and mild bad language.
ESRB Rating: Teen, due to blood, fantasy violence, and use of alcohol and tobacco in-game.
Official Site:

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)

Description: A tactical first-person shooter where teams of terrorists and counter-terrorists battle to complete objectives.
Platform: PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Format: 5v5 competitive matches
Market Size: Massive global following with a robust competitive scene.
PEGI Rating: 18, due to frequent intense violence.
ESRB Rating: Mature, for blood, intense violence, and strong language.
Official Site:


Description: A team-based tactical shooter combining gunplay with unique character abilities in strategic gameplay.
Platform: PC
Format: 5v5 matches
Market Size: Rapidly growing esports title since its 2020 launch.
PEGI Rating: 16, for strong violence and in-game purchases.
ESRB Rating: Teen, with violence, blood, and suggestive themes.
Official Site:

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

Description: Focuses on destruction and teamwork as players use various gadgets to win in close-quarter battles.
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One/Series X/S
Format: 5v5 objective-based matches
Market Size: Consistent esports presence with a dedicated player base.
PEGI Rating: 18, for realistic violence and tension.
ESRB Rating: Mature, due to blood, strong language, and violence.
Official Site:


Description: A sandbox game allowing players immense creativity in building and exploration within a blocky, pixelated world.
Platform: PC, mobile, and all major consoles
Format: Varied gameplay modes
Market Size: Best-selling game of all time, appealing across age groups.
PEGI Rating: 7, for mild violence and the potential for online play.
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+, for fantasy violence and presence of online servers.
Official Website:

Rocket League

Description: Combines soccer with vehicular mayhem, offering high-octane matches with cars performing acrobatic tricks to score goals.
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One/Series X/S, Nintendo Switch
Format: Primarily 3v3 matches
Market Size: Huge player base with professional leagues.
PEGI Rating: 3, suitable for all ages due to its lack of violence, focusing on sportsmanship.
ESRB Rating: Everyone, with no objectionable content.
Official Website:

Dota 2

Description: Another leading MOBA game where two teams of five heroes vie for dominance by destroying the enemy’s base.
Platform: PC
Format: Team-based gameplay
Market Size: Hosts one of the largest esports tournaments, The International.
PEGI Rating: 12, for moderate violence towards fantasy characters.
ESRB Rating: Teen, due to blood, violence, and use of alcohol and tobacco.
Official Website:

PUBG Mobile

Description: Mobile adaptation of the popular battle royale game where players fight to be the last one standing.
Platform: Mobile (iOS and Android)
Format: Solo, duo, and squad matches up to 100 players
Market Size: One of the most popular mobile games worldwide.
PEGI Rating: 16, for realistic violence and online play.
ESRB Rating: Teen, for violence and blood.
Official Website:


Description: The digital equivalent of the world football sport, offering realistic gameplay, teams, and stadiums.
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One/Series X/S, Nintendo Switch
Format: Various modes including online competitive play
Market Size: Widely played globally, with tournaments mimicking real-life leagues.
PEGI Rating: 3, accessible to all ages, focusing on the sport itself without violent content.
ESRB Rating: Everyone, for general audience suitability without mature content.
Official Website:

Street Fighter

Description: A competitive fighting game series known for its diverse character roster and complex combat mechanics.
Platform: Varies by installment, generally available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
Format: 1v1 matches
Market Size: Central to the fighting game community with numerous competitions.
PEGI Rating: 12, for mild to moderate violence in a martial arts context.
ESRB Rating: Teen, for violence, suggestive themes, and use of alcohol.
Official Website:


In a warmly lit living room, a parent and a child sit together on a plush couch, both holding a game controller with expressions of sheer joy



Parental Involvement: Key to a Safe Esports Experience


In the burgeoning world of esports for kids, parental involvement stands as a critical factor in navigating the vast and often complex esports landscape. Squid Academy champions the role of parents as active participants in their child’s esports experience, emphasizing that such engagement not only ensures safety but also enriches the child’s gaming journey. This expanded section delves into the multifaceted ways parents can contribute to creating a nurturing esports environment for their children.

Also Read: Squid Academy’s “Excellent” EAF Endorsement

Open Dialogue and Education

The foundation of a safe esports experience begins with open, honest conversations between parents and children about the digital world. Discussing the nature of the games, the communities surrounding them, and the content they may encounter empowers kids with knowledge and sets the stage for a trusting relationship. Parents can educate themselves on the esports scene, including understanding game ratings, team dynamics, and online etiquette, to better guide their children through their esports endeavors.

Setting Healthy Boundaries and Screen Time Management

Balancing screen time is crucial in ensuring children enjoy esports while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Establishing clear boundaries around gaming hours, taking regular breaks, and encouraging diverse interests outside of esports are essential steps. Parents can leverage parental controls on gaming consoles and computers to manage playtime effectively, ensuring that gaming remains a part of a balanced daily routine that also prioritizes physical activity, homework, and family time.

Encouraging Positive Online Interactions

The online nature of esports means children will interact with players from various backgrounds. Guiding children on how to navigate these interactions positively is vital. Parents can teach their kids about online safety, including protecting personal information and recognizing and responding to inappropriate behavior. Encouraging kindness, respect, and sportsmanship in online interactions fosters a positive gaming community and helps build a supportive network of friends and teammates.

Participation and Support in Esports Activities

Taking an active interest in your child’s esports activities can significantly enhance their gaming experience. This can range from watching matches together, discussing strategies and game mechanics, to attending local esports events as a family. Such involvement not only strengthens the parent-child bond but also provides parents with insights into the esports culture, helping them better understand the challenges and triumphs their children experience in the gaming world.

Promoting Educational and Career Opportunities in Esports

Esports opens up a realm of educational and career possibilities beyond professional gaming. Parents can play a pivotal role in exploring these opportunities with their children, discussing the various pathways within the esports industry, including game development, event management, and content creation. Encouraging children to pursue interests in STEM fields, graphic design, or communications through the lens of esports can inspire future career aspirations and academic pursuits.


Esports as a Learning Platform: Beyond Just Play


Esports for kids is not merely about engaging in competitive play; it’s a dynamic platform that offers a multitude of learning opportunities. This section delves deeper into how esports can be a beneficial educational tool, promoting not only cognitive development but also essential life skills. Squid Academy emphasizes the multifaceted benefits of esports as a learning platform, illustrating its potential to contribute positively to a child’s growth and development.

Cognitive Benefits and Skill Development

Esports challenges players to think critically, solve problems quickly, and adapt to new situations. These games often require strategic planning, resource management, and real-time decision-making, mirroring cognitive tasks in academic and real-world scenarios. For instance, titles like League of Legends and Dota 2 demand a deep understanding of game mechanics, teamwork, and opponent strategies, enhancing players’ analytical skills and attention to detail.

Social Skills and Teamwork

Contrary to the stereotype of gaming as a solitary activity, esports is inherently social, requiring communication and collaboration for success. Players learn to work as part of a team, developing interpersonal skills such as leadership, empathy, and conflict resolution. This collaborative environment fosters a sense of community and belonging, offering kids a platform to build friendships and improve their social interaction skills.

Educational Pathways in Esports

The esports ecosystem is rich with educational pathways that go beyond becoming a professional gamer. It introduces young enthusiasts to potential careers in game design, event management, content creation, and more. Esports for kids can serve as an early exposure to these fields, igniting interest in STEM subjects and encouraging the pursuit of related academic and career paths. Squid Academy supports this exploration by highlighting the diverse opportunities within the esports industry, making it a viable and attractive option for future professions.

Also Read: 10 High-Demand Careers in the Esports Industry: A Guide for Job Seekers

Promoting Digital Literacy

In today’s digital age, being proficient with technology is as crucial as reading and writing. Engaging in esports helps kids become more digitally literate, understanding the intricacies of online platforms, software use, and even basic coding principles. This digital fluency is invaluable, preparing children for a future where technology plays a predominant role in both professional and personal spheres.

Resilience and Mental Agility

Esports introduces a competitive yet controlled environment where losing is part of the learning process. This experience teaches children resilience, helping them to cope with setbacks and learn from their mistakes. Moreover, the fast-paced nature of many esports games demands mental agility, enhancing cognitive flexibility and the ability to process information rapidly.


Embracing Esports for Kids with Confidence


Esports for kids presents a unique blend of challenges and opportunities. By understanding the esports ecosystem, including game ratings and the nature of competitive play, parents can create a nurturing environment that leverages the educational and developmental benefits of gaming. Squid Academy is here to support you every step of the way, offering resources, advice, and insights to help your child thrive in the world of esports.

Remember, with informed choices and active engagement, esports can be a rewarding and safe experience for your child, opening doors to new skills, friendships, and interests.