Online gaming allows you to play games in real time with individuals from all over the world via a smartphone, tablet, games console or computer that is connected to the internet. What games can offer kids is a fascinating world of adventure that they can immerse themselves in. However, it is very important for you to understand which games are appropriate for your children’s ages and how they can stay safe.
What you should know about online gaming
Gaming is a very sociable and fun way to develop skills, encourage teamwork and spend time doing something you really enjoy. These are all very good things, there are some important things you should be aware of:
Get actively involved in learning what kinds of games your kids like to play and making sure that these games are appropriate for your children’s ages.
There are some games that allow children to chat and play with anybody in the world. This means they could potentially encounter bullying and offensive language as they interact with others.
Not everybody online is exactly who they say that they are. Make sure your children understand that they should not give out any of their personal details that could identify where they live or who they are.
There are some games that encourage players to purchase extra elements for the games they are playing. Some kids end up running up large bills without realizing what they are doing.
Bullying in extreme cases, which is also referred to as ‘griefing,’ may be a tactic used to win games. Kids might find that they are either being bullied or are bullying other children.
Keeps your kids safe while they are playing games online
One of the best ways to keep your kids safe is to sit down and join in some of the games they are playing to find out why they have so much fun playing them. Here are some tips to help make sure their gaming experiences are healthy ones:
Find out what kinds of games your kids like to play – do they prefer first-person shooter games, quest and strategy games, sports games, or role-playing games?
Ask your kids who they are playing games with online, who they talk to and meet with, and what type of language is used in live chat (which is usually done via headphones). Frequently gaming sites will have ways that you can report abusive chat and exclude antisocial players. Be sure your kids know the procedures for doing this.
For younger children especially, change the settings on their smartphone or tablet to ‘airplane’ mode. This will allow them to play offline without connecting with somebody they don’t know or purchasing things accidentally.
If your broadband provider has the ability to use safe web features, then put them on. If they don’t have this option then switch broadband package.
Set down with your family and come to an agreement on what games may be played and be sure your children understand why they are allowed to play some others while others are not allowed. Also, make an agreement on how long they are allowed to play.
Make sure your children know how to protect themselves. Be sure they know not to share any of their personal information and for their gaming friends to only be friends in the game an not add them to any of their other social networks.
Read the game’s recommendations for parents and also play the game personally so that you know how the game is played and how appropriate it is for your child.
To learn more about keeping your children safe while they are playing games online, read our interactive guide on parental controls.