5 Simple Ways to Ensure Your Kids Are Safe When Playing Video Games by Nora Hood

Some very important information from guest blogger Nora Hood.

Online gaming has become as prevalent as cell phones today, especially for young kids and teenagers. It’s the parents’ responsibility to make sure that their kids are making good decisions about their online safety.

Most parents’ fears include excessive screen time, talking to strangers online, and cyberbullying. Part of a parent’s responsibility is to provide the kids with the required information to draw boundaries. Also, it’s up to the parent to educate kids about safety and security.​ With that said, here are a few strategies to help your kid play safely and responsibly.

Vist prevention expert Julie Federico to learn more about how you can keep your kids safe.

Set Ground Rules

Tell your kid that they are allowed to play online video games as long as they respect your rules. It is imperative to set a few ground rules before you give your kid a gaming device, and they need to understand that if they aren’t following your directions, they will lose the privilege of playing online. You should inform them that you will monitor their messages, sessions, and online friends.

Install Antivirus Protection

Before you allow your kids to download and play games on a computer or smartphone, protect them with advanced antivirus and anti-malware software. Ensure that the operating systems are updated and that firewalls and other protections are enabled. Also, make sure your children are only getting titles from official app stores to protect devices from potential cyberattacks.

Educate Your Kids

If your children are at the appropriate age to play online video games, then they are old enough to be educated on the dangers lurking around on the Internet. Tell your kids that not everyone is who they say they are, so they need to be wary of who they talk to and what they share. Help your kids create their profiles, reminding them that they should never reveal their real names, ages, addresses, school, or activities they are involved in. Also, talk about language — when they are put into a situation where language has become abusive, they should know how to report offensive players. The best way to help your children stick up for themselves on online platforms is to give them the necessary tools for such situations.

Turn Off Voice Chat for Multiplayer Games

Turning off voice chat with random strangers on the Internet is a good idea for both children and adults. Anyone could be talking with your kid in an online multiplayer game without you knowing if you don’t monitor them. Still, make your child understand why it’s imperative to opt-out of voice. Have a conversation with them. Talk to them about your concerns, lead with compassion, and let them know that, while you know they can make good choices, you don’t want to put them in a position where they can be bullied.

Parental Controls for Safety

Parental controls are the most effective way to keep your children safe — it’s easy for parents to ensure gaming is safer, more secure, and more fun for kids by using flexible parental controls on devices.

If your kids are using your laptop to play games, ZenBusiness states that you’ll need to take steps to ensure your financial and personal safety to protect your device from cyber-attacks.

Games Can Be Perfectly Safe

With all of the dangers online, it’s tempting not to allow your children to play video games. However, if you monitor them, change a few things in the ‘Parental Control’ section of the game or device, educate your kids, and set ground rules, any game your kid wants to play can be safe.

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