Introducing our inaugural gaming festival to help tackle child abuse

Our new ‘Game Safe’ festival takes place in February and features a range of workshops and an in-person esports safeguarding conference which covers child protection within the gaming industry.


We’re inviting professionals, parents and gamers to attend our new Game Safe festival, which aims to raise awareness and educate parents, carers and professionals on how to keep children safe while playing games online, as well as providing fundraising opportunities.

Our recent report found an 82% rise in online grooming crimes against children in the last 5 years. With 89% of children in the UK playing video games, we’re committed to ensuring that online protections extend to gaming platforms too.

“During the break from school I was spending lots of time on Roblox. These two older guys were talking to and flirting with me, they complimented my selfies but then made me send sexy pictures to them. I feel so stupid for doing it. My parents helped me report it and everything, but I don’t want to go back to school now. I feel like everyone knows what I did.”

- Young person, aged 13, who contacted Childline

The Game Safe festival, taking place on the 5th – 11th February, is launched with the support of several key partners. This includes Vodafone, who has partnered with the festival and will feature across the week to promote the work they’re doing with us to ensure every child has a happy and safe online life. Also supporting Game Safe is The British Esports Federation, who is advising on the esports activation.

“As a partner of NSPCC, we are proud to be supporting the Game Safe Festival 2024 and bringing more people into the online safety conversation through the event. 

At Vodafone we have been committed to the online safety space for 14 years and have been working with the NSPCC since early 2023 to create new resources and support via the Vodafone UK Digital Parenting platform, helping equip parents and carers with the information and tools they need to help ensure children are safe and happy online.

We’re proud to be launching a new online toolkit together in the coming weeks to further support families feeling confident about starting their online journey together.”

- Nicki Lyons, Chief Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Officer at Vodafone UK

One of the key opportunities within the Game Safe festival is the Safeguarding in Esports Conference, an in-person event being held at Confetti X in Nottingham on the 9th February. This gives esports industry professionals the chance to learn more from safeguarding experts about how to protect children who take part in esports competitions. There are also virtual tickets for those unable to attend in person.

The conference features a panel of experts who will share insight on the world of esports, including:

  • NSPCC’s CEO, Sir Peter Wanless
  • Wolves FC / Wolves Esports Head of Safeguarding, Lisa Carter
  • Child Protection in Sport Service Head, Michelle North
  • Sport England Head of Children, Alex Moore

Alongside the esports conference, there are a variety of online workshops for parents, carers and professionals working with children. These sessions will tackle the topic of keeping children safe when gaming online.

All the events are designed to equip people with the tools and confidence they need to protect young players, bring together key industry stakeholders to improve safeguarding practices across the sector and encourage everyone to fundraise to help support our vital work.

Visitors can also bid for exciting auction prizes. During the week, creators and streamers will be offering prizes during livestreaming, including state-of-the-art gaming furniture and equipment. Another prize is the opportunity for two winners to watch the senior Cymru men’s team train as they prepare for the Euro 24 play off, semi-final against Finland.

Get tickets for Game Safe Festival events

“The NSPCC is thrilled to announce the launch of Game Safe, our new gaming festival. A huge number of young people use gaming platforms, and so it is crucial that they are designed with child safety in mind.

The NSPCC is dedicated to protecting children from abuse both online and in person. Our esports conference is a fantastic opportunity for professionals to learn more about the industry, and the role we all have in keeping young people safe.”

- Lewie Procter, Associate Head of Gaming at the NSPCC

Our Childline counsellors listen to concerns from children who contact the free helpline. As well as hearing how young people play games online to relax, they also hear cases of abuse in the virtual world. The most mentioned gaming consoles in 2022/23 were Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo (including the Switch) and the top gaming sites discussed were Minecraft, Roblox and Fortnite.

“I’m contacting Childline today because of something I’ve seen online… I was invited to a Discord group chat room by someone on Reddit who I didn’t know and in this group chat they were sharing naked photos of underage children! I left the chat as soon as I realised what it was and reported it to Discord. But then I discover that Discord had banned MY account?! Now I’m scared I’m going to get in trouble for it even though I’ve not done anything wrong!”

- Boy, aged 18, who contacted Childline