Online gaming has become almost as omnipresent as cell phones these days, mainly for our kids. With games working toward “always online” it is our responsibility as their parents to guarantee that they are making important decisions about their online safety while playing games. Part of that management is providing them with the right information they need to set boundaries in place, but it is up to us to balance the foundation of safety and security.
Most kids love playing online games. There are no surprises that it is for fun. It is entertaining, encourages creativity and is frequently educational. It is great to play with existing friends and offer the chance to make new ones too. Online games allow kids to chat to and play with or against an extensive number of other players anywhere in the world, across all borders of time, language, geography, age and culture.
8 ways to keep kids safe while gaming-
- Make the kids wise enough by teaching your kids that ‘gaming friends’ are still strangers in the real world.In gaming environment, players can flee reality and presume different identities, so online predators may take the appearance of other children, and children can presume the specification of older youths.Friendships may be developed with unsuitable gaming partners, who may try to control kids or contact them in real life.
- Make the kids understand the gaming environment as the same way you protect your child from criminal activity. Don’t leave them to prospect the gaming world unattended especially if they are young.
- The anonymity of the gaming environment generate a propagating ground for character deformation with children often assisting in daring actions they would not try in reality which include virtual gang activities, sex offences, stealing, and even self-harm or murder.
- Investigate the environment yourself to see whether you are agreeable with the levels of violence and the style of one-to-one interconnection between gamers.By assisting in the gaming environment, you will pave the way for honest communication with your child about their gaming achievements and anything that makes them uncomfortable.
2) Be strict with the kids when they play games. It should be loud and clear to the kids that they are only allowed to play online as long as they stick to your rules.It is very important to lay specific ground-rules for online games before you give your child a gaming device. They need to fully understand that if they don’t play by your rules, they will fully lose the advantage of playing online with their gaming friends. The kids should be told again and again that their messages will be watched, their online sessions will be monitored, and their friends will be examined. If still the things are not under control, you will have to take very strict measures for the safety of the kids.
3) Be specific and don’t pre-assume that all cartoon characters are harmless.Extremely popular children’s programme characters are often duplicated for use in mockery or downright unsettled videos and games. Check that the cartoon your child is captivating with is the permitted, child-friendly version. The parents should have a source of these characters, related internet links and reviews on the characters. Make a good check if these characters can be found on permitted online stores and if they have any age restrictions.
4) Keep in mind about cyber risk-Children are easily convinced to download content or click on attractive links that promise exciting new videos or games.Cyber offenders can exploit this vulnerability to access your home networks, from where they could access your home cameras or your digital devices. Keep an eye on your kids what they are accessing and teach them to identify and keep away from potentially dangerous links and content.
5) Keep it age relevant-
- Don’t simply hand a connected device to a small child and expect them to play within suitable platforms: they will explore and go beyond the measured parameters.
- There are family safety settings in all devices and gaming consoles nowadays. Take out time to read up on these specific instructions for initiating these settings and make this a reflection of the device you choose to buy for a child.
- Have a consideration about the age and maturity of your child and the games they are asking to play. Review store ratings and content descriptors and check do the games seem to be a good fit for your child? If there are still older gamers in the home, kids will often want to play the games they see being played rather than the ones that fit their age group. Have a consideration about the sensitivity of games played by older siblings and stick to age-appropriate ones for the younger child even if their older siblings are playing more mature games.
- Be specific about the gaming device your child will play on. Are the protection settings in place for your child? Do these match the level of maturity of the child? Do they help you set suitable boundaries with regards to the types of games allowed, who they are allowed to interact with, and the amount of time they can play? If not then be sure to configure these protective settings before your child starts gaming.
- Talk to your child about relevant gaming. Conversation is very crucial as it sets the structure for understanding and cooperation for gaming successfully. Talk about the protective settings you have put in place, about the types of games that are relevant or not, about the time restriction and the importance of having a balanced experience with online gaming, friends, activities, and school.
- Let your child know that you will periodically check on their gaming especially if it includes conversations with people you don’t know and be sure the conversations are respectful. Keep a check that the kids are not sharing too much information, and so on.
6) Financial risks – It is possible your child may either knowingly or unintentionally be persuaded to part with your money. Many games allow and motivate players to buy more content from personally within the game or via the console, either with real or virtual currency.
7) Set time limits
Games must be goal-driven and rewarding and be played for specific hours in a day. It can be so frustrating that homework gets forgotten. Before that happens, step in and set guidelines. Be little firm but calm in handling the child.
8) When done with your device simply delete it.
If you are getting rid of your child’s console or gaming device then either sell it, recycle it or give it away and delete their personal account details. The way to do this varies between devices, so search the relevant online support pages for instructions.