It is a rare sight to see a child’s bedroom which isn’t full of games and some sort of console alongside a collection of smart devices, as you will probably agree it can sometimes feel like an impossible mission to pull your children away from their game of the latest FIFA or battle on Fortnite.
Gaming is now a way of socialising for people of all ages and although it is an outlet for fun, it can also pose some dangers, especially for children. When games did not feature the option to play online with others, the games would often be extended between friends and family. Now, online gamers can play with anyone at any age without being aware of exactly who is talking to them. Naturally, adults can determine if something is suspicious but it can be easy for children to be targeted and exploited by people posing as others. To help prevent these issues you can have a chat with your children about how they can keep safe when playing games online. Most games will have a feature where you and your child can block people who appear to be suspicious from contacting you as well as the option of reporting inappropriate content. When your child is actively gaming online, showing them how to use these features is quick and easy.
Certain games may also show content which is explicit and inappropriate. Typically if your child is playing games which are above their age range, it could expose them to sexual and violent material which is either within the game or by other users. As well as checking the age rating of the game your children are playing, you can also review the game yourself before allowing your child to access it. If you would like to find out more information on the content of a game/console you can search the Video Standards Council’s ACI.
Screen time and balancing the use of consoles and activities away from devices can be a worry for many parents. In the previous instalment of this blog series, we discussed the parental controls that you can use to keep control of the time spent online. To read about how you can limit time spent on consoles, read this post.
Online safety in gaming is a conversation that you can keep going with your children, so they know that you are aware of their usage and can monitor it. Your child can still play the games they enjoy, having the controls in place puts your mind at rest whilst they do so. You can also inform them of other people they can speak to such as teachers at schools or other trusted family friends.
Keep in touch with us on our social media and let us know what you think and what works for you. Stay tuned for next week’s post.