The British Esports Federation has officially joined forces with the NSPCC enabling both organisations to work together to address safeguarding children in esports.

British Esports is the UK’s national body for esports, empowering current and future generations of esports athletes, while children’s charity, the NSPCC, is an expert in the field of safeguarding and child protection.

The partnership will see the creation of a parent’s guide to help adults understand the world of esports.

There will also be the implementation of safeguarding initiatives, such as coaching guidance, streamer best practice and more.

The need for the partnership came as the NSPCC saw a significant rise in online grooming crimes against children in the past five years.

With an estimated 89% of young people in the UK playing video games, it’s essential that esports is a safe space for children to engage in.

In the coming months, the NSPCC and British Esports will collaborate to develop a longer-term vision and plan to support each other’s joint ambition in several areas.

The partnership has agreed several shared values, including putting children first, educating children and young people and ensuring the UK and global esports ecosystem understands its’ responsibilities to safeguarding.

The partnership also comes after the NSPCC and British Esports teamed up for the very first Safeguarding in Esports Conference earlier this year.

The event was a success, with over 300 people in attendance, highlighting the demand for a broader partnership and more content and activities, which will be announced at a later date.

The partnership will help support and influence esports organisations to put the well-being of children at the forefront of their policies and procedures. It will give practical advice and guidance about how to do this.

It is hoped the partnership will facilitate progress towards an industry standard that will place safeguarding at the centre of all activities within the esports ecosystem.

The Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU), a department within the NSPCC, works alongside traditional sports clubs, teams and institutions to ensure they are putting the well-being of the child first.

As part of this collaboration, it is hoped that a similar model from the CPSU will be transferred to the esports industry.

With a growth in popularity for competitive gaming among younger players and increasing opportunities within the esports circuit for players aged 13 and up, the need for safeguarding in esports is greater than ever.

Chester King, British Esports President, said: “British Esports have long recognised the need for effective safeguarding in esports.

“In comparison to traditional sport, esports is a long way behind in it’s understanding, organisation and implementation of safeguarding practices.”

“Today is a landmark moment for our industry. We are incredibly proud to partner with the NSPCC, globally renowned experts in safeguarding and child protection.

“Their exceptional team, led by Sir Peter Wanless, will ensure that, together, we create a safer esports ecosystem for all.”

Sir Peter Wanless, CEO of NSPCC, said: “Esports arenas are clearly where an increasing number of children are spending time. Therefore, we must be there too, working in partnership to keep them safe and building the fundamentals of safeguarding into the governance of esports just as we have done in traditional sport.”

“Children deserve to enjoy exciting and age-appropriate gaming experiences, but ones in which their safety and well-being are carefully considered.

“We are partnering with the British Esports Federation, the UK’s national body for esports, so together we can help keep children safe whilst enabling them to enjoy the benefits of esports and wider technologies in ways which enhance their childhoods and future lives positively.”