How much screen time should kids have? Is too much TV bad for them? Are video games a negative influence? It’s a subject that can often be a bone of contention for parents. Well, one piece of research found that gaming can actually be good for young ones. Of course, video games are no longer played offline. Like things such as online streaming, online gaming is becoming big business. But for parents, how can you be sure that your kids are safe in a virtual arena?
Turn on your parental controls
If you’re not sure how safe your child is when playing video games online, don’t panic. There are many ways that you can protect them. The first is quite simple. Most (if not all) ISPs bundle parental controls into their routers. The makers of games consoles do too. So, all you need to do is make sure that you have them set up to stop any unsafe activities.
Companies like Epic Games are taking action to help, tonight for example a lot of parents reported that when their kids downloaded the new Fortnite Fall Guys, that they needed to do age verification to approve access to the 12 certificate. The message read “ask your parents for help – you need permission from your parent to continue playing Fortnite. Enter their email below, and we’ll send them a request for permission.”
Keep their location under wraps
Even for the most tech-savvy of us, it’s too easy to share your location online and not realise you’re doing it. Some apps do it by default. Your router’s IP address can’t quite pinpoint where you are – but it can give away a general location. So, parents might want to think about ways to stop this occurring. One way to do this is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which can mask an IP address. And the result is your child’s location won’t be on show.
Are their screens in easy sight?
You can take day-to-day steps to protect your child if they’re playing video games online. One such step is to keep an eye on what they’re doing. You might already be tracking how much screen time they’re getting. But you can hook your games console up to your living room TV. If they use a PC, why not put this in a space that you use often? And you can even go as far as to stop them from gaming online on a mobile device.
Who is your child talking to?
So many apps let us speak to other people online. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Viber are some of the most popular chat apps. But there are also gaming platforms where you can talk to people worldwide. But how do you know the person they’re chatting to is who they say they are? It can happen to us all – but children are particularly at risk. So, check their chats to make sure they don’t talk to someone they shouldn’t.
Above all, it’s never a bad idea to talk to your child. Sure, they’ll think it’s boring. But it might get them thinking. And, in doing so, it may keep them even safer when gaming online.