Understanding Skill-Based Matchmaking in Video Games: A Guide for Parents of Teen Gamers

In today’s digital age, video games have become an integral part of many teenagers’ lives. As a parent, it’s natural to want to stay informed about the digital landscapes your children navigate, including the world of online gaming. One crucial aspect that impacts their gaming experience is skill-based matchmaking. This blog post aims to shed light on what skill-based matchmaking is and why it matters for your teen’s gaming adventures.

What is Skill-Based Matchmaking (SBMM)?

Skill-based matchmaking is a mechanism implemented in many online multiplayer video games that aims to create balanced and fair matches. Instead of randomly pairing players together, SBMM takes into consideration the players’ skill levels and attempts to match them with opponents of similar abilities. The main goal is to provide a challenging but enjoyable gaming experience, where players can face opponents who are neither too easy nor too difficult to beat. Here’s why it matters for your teen’s gaming adventure:

Diverse Opponents, Diverse Ages:

Contrary to popular belief, skill-based matchmaking doesn’t solely pair children with others of the same age. Instead, it focuses on players’ skill levels, which can vary significantly regardless of age. This means your teen might encounter opponents ranging in age and background, but they’ll all share a similar level of gaming proficiency.

Skill Over Chance

One of the primary advantages of skill-based matchmaking is that it prioritizes skill levels over randomness. This means that matches are more likely to be competitive and enjoyable for players, as they won’t consistently face opponents who are either far more skilled or less skilled than they are. This can lead to a more rewarding gaming experience and potentially boost your teen’s self-confidence as they improve their gaming abilities.

The Dark Side: Threats and Harassment

While skill-based matchmaking brings many benefits, there’s a potential downside to consider: the lack of filters in most games. Since SBMM doesn’t discriminate based on age or other factors, your teen might occasionally encounter players who use offensive language, engage in cyberbullying, or pose other threats. It’s essential to educate your teen about online etiquette, reporting mechanisms, and the importance of disengaging from toxic interactions.

Protecting Your Teen in the World of SBMM

As a parent, you play a vital role in ensuring your teen’s online safety and positive gaming experience:

  1. Communication: Talk openly with your teen about online interactions, making sure they know they can always come to you if they encounter any issues while gaming.
  2. Privacy Settings: Help your teen set up privacy settings on their gaming accounts to limit interactions from strangers and control who can communicate with them.
  3. Reporting Tools: Teach your teen how to use the reporting tools provided by the game to report any instances of harassment, bullying, or offensive behavior.
  4. Moderation: Encourage your teen to take breaks, maintain a healthy balance between gaming and other activities, and not let negative interactions affect their self-esteem.
  5. Monitoring: Keep the lines of communication open with your child about monitoring and download ProtectMe by Kidas on their computer to receive alerts if they come in contact with toxic gamers.


Skill-based matchmaking is a double-edged sword in the world of online gaming. While it enhances the competitiveness and enjoyment of matches, it also introduces the potential for unwanted interactions. As a parent, your guidance and open communication can help your teen navigate the challenges of online gaming, ensuring they have a safe, fun, and rewarding experience. By staying involved and informed, you can help your teen make the most out of their gaming adventures while staying protected from potential threats.

Sign up for a free trial of ProtectMe to keep your child safe while playing video games.