There is a good chance that your child has a gaming console of some kind, be it an Xbox, PlayStation, cellphone or tablet. After all, playing games is a significant part of childhood. The games that they play keep them entertained for hours and seem quite harmless. But are they?
For many years parents and guardians have been concerned with the levels of violence present in the games that children are playing. Now the time has come to be concerned with the seemingly innocent games that they are playing.
A global trend has emerged that sees predators utilising these online games (usually with multiplayer and chat options) to groom unsuspecting children and requesting photographs. Popular and seemingly harmless games such as MineCraft and Clash of Clans have been identified as games used by predators to gain access to young victims.
Here are a few tips to keep your child safe when they play their favourite game
- Play the game yourself to test it's appropriateness
- See if there are any chat options on the game and if chats can be had with contacts only or with anyone that is playing the game
- Research the game to see if any safety concerns have been raised
- Check the settings on the game to see if you can increase privacy settings, especially blocking friend/chat requests
- Ensure that the gaming device is placed in a common part of the house, or that you can see your child when they are playing the game
- Talk to your child about the risks and tell them to come to you immediately if someone they do not know tries to talk to them
- Take an interest in the game that your child is playing and encourage them to talk to you about it. An open line of communication is imperative.