Video games are a fun, sociable and experience for kids, teenagers and adults alike, which is why they are regulated in a similar fashion to the films we see in cinemas.
However, when it comes to the online environment, these demographics cross paths and kids are often exposed to content or behaviour that would be deemed inappropriate for their age.
In order for kids and teenagers to have total protection from the threats of online gaming and develop helpful skills such as teamwork and communication, there needs to be an element of self-regulation accompanying the benefits of security software.
Once you have everything in place to protect your child from these threats, they can continue enjoying the wonderful online experiences video gaming has to offer.
Here are some essential tips you can use to keep your child safe in the daunting world of online video gaming:
Get Involved with their Gaming Habits
A 2015 survey indicated that more than half of parents with game-playing children join in at least once a week. Let’s face it; the typical teenager probably won’t like the idea of their parents getting involved in their gaming habits.
However, with video games now being introduced at younger ages, both parents and children are enjoying games together, so it’s far easier for parents to keep an eye on what their kids are experiencing.
Getting involved as much as possible also allows you to choose games to play, review potentially unsuitable games and monitor the online community your child is involved in.
Knowing the Gaming Community
To many parents, the online gaming community is a complete mystery. Unfortunately, it gets a lot of bad press among parents; often with good reason. Therefore, it’s important that parents are aware of the dangers of the online community as much as the games themselves.
As your child could be playing with anyone, anywhere in the world, there is always the possibility that they could be exposed to bullying and offensive language.
Despite the vast majority of online players making up a friendly and cooperative gaming community, many may be using a false identity or posing as someone they’re not. Warn your child never to give out personal details that could identify them or their location.
Managing In-Game Purchases
Some games boost competition among players by introducing in-game purchases. Your kids may see other players purchasing add-ons in the game and be encouraged to do the same. It’s important to make sure you are in full control of any purchases as kids have been known to rack up large bills.
You may think that keeping card details out of reach of children is straightforward – but many games these days, especially those on tablets and smartphones, will save the card details you used to purchase the game in the first place.
Lay Down Some Family Gaming Rules
This includes everything from setting time limits and regular breaks to declaring which games are allowed and which aren’t. Both younger children and teenagers may still be keen to get around these rules, so it’s essential that you also discuss WHY these rules are important.
As a family you should be completely aware of the dangers associated with online gaming, so make sure you take your children through the reasons why they cannot play certain games or access certain game features. You should also discuss the dangers of the online community with them.
Know Your Childs Gaming Preferences
Some children prefer to play games offline and away from online communities. Others enjoy the prospect of competing against others across the world. Know what it is your child prefers when it comes to gaming and try to guide them through their experiences accordingly.
You should also be aware of the various gaming genres that exist, such as role-playing, shooters, sports games, strategy etc. Your child may have a particular preference within these categories, some of which include more online video games than others.
With McAfee’s Parental Controls you can keep a close eye on the browsing habits of your child, as well as the games they play online. By combining expert security software with thorough guidance and education, your child will enjoy the plethora of benefits associated with modern video gaming without incident.