If you’re like many parents, you’re constantly saying no to a lot of your kids’ requests. No, you can’t play video games all day long. No, we can’t adopt a giraffe as a pet. No, you can’t watch 50 Shades of Grey.
Still, to be clear, you have to allow your children to have fun regularly. When it comes to playing video games, you want them to be aware of the safety risks of the Internet.
But how do you ensure they play video games online safely? Learn a few actionable tips below.
1. Help your Child Choose Video Games
Get involved in your child’s gaming life by helping him or her choose age-appropriate games. Also, play a few of these games with your kids to learn how they work, the content involved and to bond with your child.
Some games might claim they are appropriate for children above eight years. But only after you play them can you confirm that they do not have themes that might not be appropriate for your child.
Also, you probably have ideas for what games your children should play. Maybe you want to introduce them to table games. Or you want them to try out adventure games before they discover action multiplayer games.
2. Let the Child Play in a Communal Area
As an adult, you’re free to play ultra casino games whenever you want and wherever you go. That’s because you can make objective decisions about who to talk to online, how much to spend on games and how long to play slots and poker.
When it comes to kids, it’s essential that you stay close to them while they play their favorite video games. You see, modern games allow people of all age groups to play video games together.
Although multiplayer gaming is fun, it can introduce your children to creeps, bullies and scammers online. This is particularly true if your child plays video games alone in her bedroom.
With communal gaming, you let your child play games in the sitting room, kitchen area or somewhere close to other members of your family. This way, you can listen to her conversations and you can even peek to see who they’re chatting with.
3. Talk to Your Kids about their Favorite Games
We’ll admit—it’s difficult to keep up with all the video games kids play online. You might choose a couple of great games for them today. But then they discover more games on Twitch, Steam and Metacritic.
To ensure your kids are making the right choices, save time to talk about their favorite games once in a while. Find out if your kids experience bullying in the chatrooms.
Learn whether they get messages from older players asking to interact outside of the gaming world. And if you discover any inappropriate behaviors, consider asking your child to change her games or to turn off live chatting.
4. Set Limits
This is one of the most important things you need to do as a parent. Take control of your child’s gaming hobby by setting limits on the time they should play. Set limits on the games they can play and the amount of money they can spend on in-game transactions.
You’ve probably heard this. But Reddit is full of stories from parents who got shocked after realizing their children had spent thousands of dollars on video-game payments.
Interestingly, many video game transactions are cheap. You might need to buy a weapon for $2, a battle pass for $10 or a new game for $50. With time, however, these transactions can add up quickly.
5. Teach Your Kids about Online Safety
We’ve talked a lot about checking who your kids talk to and what they say during live chats. However, a better idea is to underpin the importance of online safety to your kids.
Teach them about protecting their privacy through the use of unique passwords, VPNs and antivirus software. Also, teach them about phishers, scammers, cat fishers and the need to limit information sharing.
Truth be told, most scammers and attackers target vulnerable games. If your kids have anti-malware protection on their PC, they are less likely to receive spam emails and phishing messages.
Also, if they know how to spot online scammers and creeps, they are less likely to fall for these attacks.
6. Talk About Respecting Other Gamers
It’s true—we would have a much safer online gaming industry if every parent taught their kids the need to respect other gamers. Instead, far too many parents allow their children to play video games online without ever checking the language they use and images they send others.
Some parents believe that just because their kids are kind in real life, they also respect others online. The Internet provides a platform to talk privately. And this makes many people feel the need to talk rudely without facing any consequences.
7. Encourage Gaming with Friends
At some point, you might not have much control over who your kids play video games with online. But while they are young, encourage them to play games only with people they know in real life.
The benefit here is that your kids will be playing in a community of friends. In doing so, they are less likely to experience bullying. Also, you can easily keep up with the types of games your kids play and not have to worry about creeps.
8. Be a Good Role Model
If you play video games, chances are your kids will emulate you. Let’s say you spend hours playing the same video game. Your son will likely also do the same. Perhaps he’s had you curse to an opponent.
In due time, your child will also learn to use the same language during live gaming. In light of that information, it’s important that you set the standards for healthy gaming to your children.
Teach them how you choose video games and why. Tell them why you spend just a couple of hours gaming. And more importantly, teach them how to be a good sport in gaming.