Presenting at our first Game Safe Festival

Last updated: 04 Mar 2024 Topics: Safeguarding children Online safety

Online gaming and esports are hugely popular with many young people. Its important to raise awareness of safeguarding and how these practices can help organisations to create a safer place for our children and young people gaming online.

In this blog we hear from Joe Cartwright, CPSU Training and Development consultant about his experience at the Game Safe Festive which took place in February 2024. Joe gave his keynote speech to over 300 delegates at this festival, which was the first of its kind.

About the Game Safe Festival

The event was a collaboration between the NSPCC, developers, industry bodies, esports and influencers. The festival gave the NSPCC a chance to showcase safeguarding to this audience in a way that has never been done before.

Joe, tell us about your experience at the festival?

“The event was an incredible opportunity for esports and gaming organisations, to learn more about safeguarding. I delivered the first presentation of the day and began by giving some insight into the safeguarding work that the CPSU has achieved with sports. I highlighted how esports and gaming can learn from what we have done within CPSU and what impact this will make in the future.’’

What where your highlights from the festival?

“It was important to capture, that the NSPCC are there to support esports as gaming grows. This was an invaluable opportunity to discuss what support is already available on the CPSU website, capture best practice and share ideas amongst esports bodies.

“With this captivated audience in front of me, I was able to share who the CPSU is, how we came to fruition and the key work we do within the sport and activity sector. Highlighting what we have learnt from inquiries into safeguarding practice, including the Sheldon report and the Whyte review.

''I was able to discuss the importance of good governance and structure, as well as using the opportunity to express how important it is to have a strong safeguarding culture throughout an organisation. Embracing an organisation’s responsibly to lead the way with tackling discrimination and using their position to affect positive change.’’

What are the next steps for esports safeguarding?

“From the event, it’s clear that there’s an opportunity for the NSPCC to be instrumental in supporting esports in delivering and implementing a safeguarding framework and structure nationally. There is an appetite to get this right and there is already a great knowledge base of safeguarding from people working in esports.

“With a national framework for esports to work to, it will provide more robust safeguards for children, participants and organisations to game safely. As esports sees a growth in visibility, with recognition from sports bodies like the International Olympic Committee, young people are competing in many large scale gaming events. Therefore safeguarding will become even more scrutinised, with greater expectations placed on gaming.

“However, from spending time at the Game Safe Festival and talking to esports, I am confident that there is a commitment to make esports and gaming a safe and inclusive arena.’’