Dec 27, 2022

Is Free Fire safe for kids? App Safety Guide for parents

Qustodio team

Qustodio team

Experts in digital safety

Is Free fire safe for kids

Garena Free Fire, usually referred to as Free Fire or FF, was one of the most downloaded free-to-play video games in 2020 and voted 2021’s “mobile game of the year” by Esports. That same year, active daily users of Free Fire climbed to over 150 million. So what’s the fuss all about? In this guide, we’ll give you the information you need about Free Fire, help you decide if it’s appropriate for your child, and give you some safety tips along the way.

What is Free Fire?

Free Fire is a free-to-play shooter game published by Singapore-based Garena, distributors of the popular online battle arena game League of Legends. 

Free Fire is a battle royale game, which means it is an online multiplayer video game that blends survival and exploration, with added “scavenger hunt” elements. In battle royale games, the goal is to be the last person, or player, standing. 

Free Fire players are dropped on a deserted island, where they’re challenged to look for weapons and other resources that will help them to survive. The goal is to eliminate other players until finally, there is just one survivor remaining on the island.

Why do kids like Free Fire?

Is free fire safe

How old do you have to be to play Free Fire?

Garena’s own privacy policy states that Free Fire’s services are not “intended for children under the age of 13”. Age ratings on both the Apple Store and Android store vary, with Apple rating Free Fire as 12+, and Android recommending players be 17+ only, due to violence, blood, and the features of both user interaction and in-game purchases experienced during gameplay. 

Is Free Fire safe for kids?

  • While not gory, Free Fire violence is realistic. There is blood and players moan in pain before falling over to die.
  • Free Fire players can chat with strangers directly who may use inappropriate language or be potential sexual predators or data thieves.
  • Free Fire blocks suspicious accounts, but the app remains prone to hackers who ruin games and may steal personal information. In fact, over the first few weeks of 2021, Free Fire banned over 2.9 million accounts for some form of hacking or cheating. 
  • From the get-go, Free Fire pushes players to buy virtual currency, shop for weapons and costumes and play gambling games. Via continuous ads or wrapped up as missions, the pressure to make in-app purchases is very heavy on Free Fire. 
  • Free Fire sexualizes characters, some women characters wear revealing clothing.
  • Excessive play of Free Fire, as with any screen time activity that requires intense concentration, causes eye strain. (According to our analysis at the end of February 2021, the average child between 4 to 15 years old on Free Fire plays an average of 74 minutes per day!)
  • Free Fire has no native parental controls.

How can I make Free Fire safer for my child or teen?

If you decide to allow your child or teen to play Free Fire we recommend the following: 

1. As Free Fire has no native parental controls, we strongly recommend you set screen time limits on device use. No matter which games your child is playing, you should set up the parental controls native to your child’s mobile phone and use them together with an independent parental control tool such as Qustodio for maximum online safety.

2. Talk to your kids about the violence they see in the app. Ask them how it makes them feel. Does it make them feel bad? Does it give them nightmares? Block the game if you see it is causing your child any distress.

3. Warn your child about online predators and sharing personal information. Games that involve chats and group play are open doors for predators. Make sure your child knows who they are playing with and doesn’t invite strangers to their friend list. 

Teach them about common psychological traps or techniques (called “grooming”) used by predators, such as pretending to be suffering to gain trust and sympathy before attempting to get personal information, money, photos, etc. Block the game the instant you suspect inappropriate behavior from other players.

4. Warn your child about the addictive nature of freemium video games. Free is never free. Teach your child to avoid loot boxes and gambling games, be wary of gacha-style games, and the temptation to buy in-app purchases. And never give them access to your credit card.

5. Play together. There is really no better way to understand a game than by actually playing it yourself. It’s also a great way to better understand your child’s world.

Qustodio’s final advice on Free Fire

In addition to the violence, heavy pressure to make in-app purchases, and direct chat, the Free Fire app has no native parental controls. It directs parents to use the parental control features on the child’s Android or Apple phone. And it refers to the law in terms of age limits. In other words, it does the bare minimum to protect kids. Therefore, we do not recommend you let your child or teen play Free Fire.

How can Qustodio help protect your family?

Qustodio is the best way to keep your kids safe online and help them create healthy digital habits. Our parental control tools ensure they don't access inappropriate content or spend too much time in front of their screens.