Online gaming is one of the largest industries in the world. Kids these days are more likely to indulge in gaming than play outside. Staying inside may be physically safer, but online gaming also brings many dangers for your kids.
This article will go over the most significant dangers your kids face when gaming online. It will also suggest some ways to mitigate the dangers.
Anonymity is a huge part of online gaming. Unfortunately, it often brings out the worst in people. When people hide behind a nickname, it’s much easier to be mean and bully people.
Kids are particularly vulnerable to becoming cyberbullying victims. And they’re more likely to take the bullying to heart. If you don’t pay close attention, your kid can quickly develop negative behavior patterns from constant online bullying.
One way to prevent cyberbullying is to block chat and voice messages from the games your child plays. There is also a way to enable chatting only with people you’re in a party with. This will allow your kid to have fun with friends without the risk of running into online bullies.
The World Health Organization (WHO) officially recognizes gaming addiction as a mental health condition.
Parents these days give their children a lot more freedom to do what they want. But young children rarely know what’s best for them in the long term. As a parent, you have to set clear boundaries for gaming. Limit gaming sessions to 1-2 hours each day. You can make it interesting by rewarding good behavior with extra gaming time.
Another helpful skill a child can develop is mindfulness. Being present allows your child to focus on whatever is in front of them instead of thinking about what else they could be doing. Teach
your child to meditate and appreciate the little things.
In-game purchases aren’t necessarily dangerous to your kids, but they are to your bank account. There are so many clever ways gaming companies try to get more money. They hide content behind paywalls, incentivizing players to spend more.
Children don’t think about financial consequences. It’s your responsibility to ensure that none of your bank accounts are linked to the games your kid is playing. There have been many stories about how kids have spent thousands of their parents’ money on online games. Getting that money back will be difficult, so it’s better to not let it happen in the first place.
Kids are naive, so they’re far more likely to believe the things they see on the internet. If they see an ad for a game that looks interesting, they’re very likely to click on the download button. Little do they know that all they’ll get once they click download is malware.
Once the malware is on the device, it can do all sorts of damage. One thing you can do to prevent malicious downloads is to require an admin password to approve all downloads and app installs. Never share the password with your children. Enter the password yourself once you verify the app as legitimate.
You should also consider installing a VPN to protect your child’s online activity. You can download a special extension straight to the browser your child uses for gaming. For instance, you can get a dedicated VPN for Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
Games come with age ratings for a reason. You should never let your kids play games that aren’t meant for their age group. These games may contain violence, sexual content, gambling, or other inappropriate content for children.
Even if a game is age-approved for your child, you should monitor your child’s behavior within the first few weeks of playing. If there are any negative changes, consider finding a different game for your child to play.
Privacy is another concern for parents. Your kid will be exposed to strangers when playing online. They can easily share personal information with them, which can bring all sorts of negative consequences.
Gaming platforms also bring privacy concerns by asking to link social media accounts, emails, etc.
Stay in control of your kids’ gaming accounts. Disable public chat features, and share as little information as possible through gaming accounts.
The online gaming trend is hitting its peak, and kids of all ages are participating. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to ensure your child’s safety when playing online. By knowing the threats outlined in this article, you can take actionable steps to make your child’s online gaming experience safe and enjoyable.