Online gaming is a popular activity among children, but there are risks involved. With that in mind, let us consider some strategies that you can use to keep your children safe.
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1. Avoid an Outright Ban
Playing online video games is a ubiquitous pastime among children and adults alike which requires a high-speed internet provider like Spectrum and HughesNet. While there once was a stigma associated with gaming, it is now as common as going to the movies. There is also a great deal of evidence that video games benefit kids when it comes to dexterity and mental skills. If you ban video games outright, they are likely to rebel. If you allow video games but under certain conditions, they will be more willing to conform and will learn your values in the process.
2. Vet Games for Appropriateness
Most games are not bad, but there are certainly many games that include material that is not age-appropriate for your child. Most games have an ESRB rating that will give you a general idea of age appropriateness. You can also find reviews online that are geared toward parents.
3. Touch Base With Other Parents
Talk to the parents of your children’s friends. Ask them about their video game preferences, and express your own. Other parents online can be a great resource too. There are many online forums frequented by gamer parents who will be happy to share their takes on a particular game you are considering.
4. Discuss Online Safety With Your Children
Avoid the mistake of thinking your child knows more than you do. Sure, he or she may be more tech-savvy, but you have a world more experience about human nature and the kind of interactions your child might encounter online. Talk to them about stranger danger in an online context.
5. Be Involved
Video games may not be your cup of tea, but you can still have a blast with your kids sharing something that they enjoy. Doing so will also give you insight into the kinds of games your children like and the types of experiences they may be having. This will better position you to have various conversations.
6. Consider Your Cybersecurity
Consoles like Xbox and PlayStation tend to provide a more protected ecosystem. PC gaming can expose you to many of the same vulnerabilities that are common to online PC use in general. Ensure that all of your software is updated, and be sure to have cybersecurity dos and don’ts talks with your kids.
7. Parental Controls
Are Powerful TooParental controls are present on all of the gaming systems from Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony and give you a great deal of power over what your children do and do not consume. For PC gaming, you can set up parental controls in Windows and may want to consider a hardware-based parental control solution.
8. Establish Time Limits
Big problems among many young gamers are a lack of self-control and the potentially addictive nature of video games. Parenting experts recommend daily and weekend limits that are a reward for meeting real-life responsibilities, such as household chores and schoolwork. You may also want to consider parental controls for Wi-Fi so that you can block access to tablets and other devices.
9. Be Aware of Microtransactions
In-game microtransactions are big business. The laws have not yet caught up with the video game publishers, and many of these economies are designed to exploit the psychology of your children. Limit their financial access, and make sure that you are present for all purchases even if it is their money.
10. Be Wary of Voice Chat
Voice chat is arguably the most worrisome aspect of online gaming for children. Experts recommend disabling voice chat outright for young children and not allowing them to play with strangers. Even with older children, you should be aware of the potential for abuse that exists via voice chat and note that some games are known for their toxic communities.