Parent and child playing a video game

Knockout City Swaps Dodgeballs for Guns. Should Young Kids Play?

by Screen Time Team on 09/06/2021

Overview: Knockout City is a bright, cartoonish multiplayer online dodgeball game. While parents should play the game or watch footage to ensure it fits their personal standards for kids, it’s generally suitable for kids 10 and up, provided concerns about online multiplayer games are addressed.

Is Knockout City Suitable For Kids?

Because of Knockout City’s kid-friendly, brightly colored, and cartoonish environment, it appeals to young kids as well as older ones. But, according to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, or ESRB, Knockout City is suitable for players ages 10 and up. It received that rating for “fantasy violence.” The board’s description of the game states that it includes frenetic gameplay “with cries of pain, explosions, and slow-motion effects. Some knockouts depict players’ bodies flailing out of bounds when hit, though there are no deaths or serious injuries.” 

On a player level, it’s somewhat similar to games such as Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. and designed to be picked up by players of all skill levels. Families can play the game together, while people who really dig into the game can play it at a higher level. It’s worth noting, however, that the ESRB can’t qualify interactions with other players on various online multiplayer networks.

Should Younger Kids Play Knockout City?

While every family has different standards for what’s acceptable in a game, this game is fairly kid-friendly in terms of presentation, and the mechanics are simple enough to grasp.

That said, younger players may find themselves a bit frustrated if they’re matched online with better players. And not all kids understand or are willing to get along with less-experienced players. This may make it less fun for younger kids, who may need to either play strictly with family or wait until they’re a little older.

Child playing a video game.

Is Online Multiplayer Safe for Kids?

There is one important caveat, though, in that the game is generally intended as an online multiplayer game. The ESRB’s ratings only apply to the content of the game itself. Other players can, depending on the rules and who enforces them, get rude or abusive in ways that may have you reaching for parental control software.

Cyberbullying and other misbehavior is a real problem in online gaming, so take a few moments to protect against it.

  • Enable parental controls at all levels, from the console to the game itself. Currently, it appears Knockout City relies on console settings and EA’s Origin software for the majority of its controls.
  • Learn how blocking and reporting users works, both in the game and on the console’s multiplayer network. Everyone you block should be blocked “globally,” that is, across the entire service.
  • Familiarize yourself with the terms of service and how the company enforces them.
  • Teach your child not to share personal information, and if somebody makes them uncomfortable, to leave the game.
  • If possible, create an “in real life” rule, where kids play games only with other kids and family members they know. Depending on the service, this might require having more than one copy of the game.
  • Make it a family event. Playing games with your kids has been shown to be a positive activity that encourages social engagement.

Parental control software like Screen Time can help keep game time separate from family time and keep the rules in place. To learn more about Screen Time, try it for free!

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