Fortnite, Mobile Legends, Roblox, Call of Duty, Overwatch, Clash of Clans, League of Legends – these are some of the most popular video/online games that young people nowadays get hooked on. The so-called freemium games are very popular as most of these are designed with multi-level goals and maps, eventually leading players to purchase bonuses to help maintain their ranks or to get further into the games.
In most cases, children play such video games tirelessly, losing track of time and real-life events. If you’re a parent of a gamer, be privy to the precautionary measures that can be taken to ensure their safety. Read on as we share the most common dangers.
Common Threats When Playing Video Games
Game developers typically incorporate security measures when rolling out new versions or updates to the public. Unfortunately, in most cases, these aren’t enough to protect all players’ sensitive and personal information, such as; contact details, address, bank or credit card details, and more.
Like social media sites, gaming platforms are susceptible to cyber threats, especially since a huge portion of their audience belongs to the 13-18 age group. Most attackers specifically target kids and teens probably because they are more innately trusting and naive.
To help you better identify which precautionary measures to take, it’s crucial to first determine what you are protecting them from. It’s like when your kid gets sick, it’s important to understand the symptoms so that you’ll be able to give them the right medication or treatment. So, to give you an idea, here are some of the common dangers that your child could possibly be exposed to.
- Malware Attack
- Data and Privacy Breach
- Identity Theft
- Online Sexual Predators
- Webcam Misuse
- Hidden Fees/ In-app Purchases
- Video Game Addiction
Effective Gaming Safety Tips
Now that you have a clearer picture of what the possible threats are, let’s focus on what can be done to ensure your kids get to enjoy their game and stay safe at the same time.
It’s a good idea that you get familiarized with the various gaming platforms that your kids utilize. You should be able to distinguish mobile games from digital downloads, boxed games from subscription services, or freemium games from social networking sites. This is vital because while all these aim to provide a great venue to play, each platform is unique; hence, the dangers and safety measures could also vary.
It also helps to know and understand a game’s rating given by the Entertainment Software Rating Board. Such ratings help parents know if the content and programs of the game are suitable for their kids. If possible, it’s best to play a game with your kids to have a more in-depth understanding of how their stuff works.
Be sure to keep the upper hand. Establish a list of reasonable house rules for gaming consoles use and see to it that these are religiously implemented. You could set a screen time limit, per se, and utilize positive reinforcement to effectively execute it. Other rules you might want to consider are setting a strong password that you and your child are both aware of, hide or disable hardware like the mic and camera to avoid misuse, never accept requests from unknown sources, play only on common spaces, and the like.
If the software or hardware comes with built-in parental controls, be sure to enable these. These will be your first line of defense. Then, take time to personally check your child’s devices. See to it that no malicious files are exchanged or stored. Delete any unnecessary or inappropriate data. Moreover, be sure that the software is always up-to-date. Manufacturers release system updates from time to time to patch vulnerabilities and security loopholes.
It’s also a practical idea to utilize third-party security software. Monitoring tools, for instance, enable you to efficiently track your kids’ phone and online activities. By having real-time access to their gaming behavior, it’s easier to spot any danger they may find themselves in. Such programs also offer various other features like web filters, geofencing, social media tracking, and so much more. It’s indeed a wise deal since it’s an all-in-one package.
Maintaining open and positive communication with your child is not only a video game safety tip but a great parenting style in general. Create a relationship with your child where sharing personal stuff is normal. Take time to talk with them. Ask them about how their game was or who they’re playing with. Such gestures make them feel valued, making it easier for them to reach out to you and open up.
As you already know, keeping your kids at home won’t completely guarantee their safety since even on the internet, crimes do happen. So aside from their game accounts, be sure to give them other activities they could focus on. After all, it’s one of your responsibilities, as parents, to provide them with a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Video games aren’t really bad for kids. In fact, these could help stimulate their brains and enhance their senses. Be sure to monitor, however, the amount of time they spend in the virtual world. See to it that they still get to create childhood memories in the real world as well.
Frequently Asked Questions About Video Game Safety
What are the dangers of video games?
Playing video games excessively can have a number of negative effects including:
- Decrease in socialization with family and friends.
- Weight gain.
- Lack of sleep.
- Lower grades in school.
- Sore neck, back, and hands.
- Blurry vision and dizziness.
How many hours of video games is too much?
There isn’t a specific number of hours that define that you’re gaming too much. Typically, it is recommended that children and teens play no more than 5 hours of video games every day.
What are the signs of video game addiction?
There are several signs of video game addiction including:
- Opt to play video games instead of socializing.
- Play video games at all hours of the day.
- Get upset when they cannot play. - Constantly thinking about playing.
- Having issues at home, work, or school because of gameplay.
- Using video games to make yourself feel better.
Why do parents not like video games?
There are several reasons why parents may not like video games. There are negative effects of playing video games like becoming addicted to them, lack of socialization, and physical side effects. Parents want their kids to enjoy life, socialize with others, and continue to learn. All of which playing video games can prevent.