Safety While Gaming Online

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Online gaming is increasing in popularity among teenagers and children, with close to 36% of kids in Ireland playing online with others in the year 2014, compared to 30% in the year 2011.

Games could range from sports-themed games to mission/task-based activities and anything else in between. Online games are an excellent way to connect with others, nurture teamwork skills, and are an excellent source of recreation and entertainment for the young generation.

gamesafetyMost of us are probably familiar with the more conventional gaming formats where one purchases physical games for popular consoles like Nintendo, Playstation, or Xbox. Online gaming is usually done on the internet through a mobile application, device, or computer console. The difference between online gaming and traditional gaming is that with the former, it is possible for you to communicate and play with other gamers on the internet.

Types of Online Games

Online games come in many different forms. These could range from free applications or games that can be easily downloaded on mobile gadgets to games which can be played on the various internet-enabled consoles, like Xbox and PlayStation.

Web Apps and Games: Games which can be played online via particular websites, or via applications which you can download on your mobile phone. Such games include games played through social media platforms, like Facebook, which lets players connect with their Facebook friends.

Console Games: Games which are usually played through entertainment consoles, like Nintendo, PlayStation, or Xbox. The consoles are usually connected to a display and can be downloaded online or bought in stores.

Mobile Games: These are games which can be downloaded on a mobile phone. In the beginning, most are free to play and charges are often introduced later in such games. For instance, players can at times pay to gain extra functionalities to help them navigate the game. Most of the in-game purchases could be deactivated in the mobile settings.

Handheld Games: Gadgets such as Nintendo DSIs or iPads could also be used for online gaming. If you want to game well with fast connectivity then look here to find the cheapest broadband deals

The Risks of Online Gaming

Inappropriate Content

There are online games that could be inappropriate for a child and could contain sexual or violent images. All online games have an age recommendation. To prevent your kid from being exposed to inappropriate games, make sure parental settings have been activated on the consoles or computers and check the age rating on all games your child is accessing.

Details on parental controls for a majority of the popular gaming consoles can be located here on the respective console websites.

Multi-Player Gaming

Most online games have multiplayer gaming options which can expose young people to risks. In this gaming mode, a user can play with other gamers from across the globe. Also, some of the games let users send messages to each other through audio or text modes. In some instances, a young player could experience harassment or abuse from another gamer, especially when emotions escalate after a highly-competitive game.

According to a research conducted by Net Children o Mobile, more than 6% of children between the age of 9 and 10 who have access to the internet have been victims of online bullying. About 3% of 9 to 16-year-olds have been bullied on an online gaming site, which makes gaming websites the second most popular location for cyberbullying after social media platforms. Players could get exposed to inappropriate content from online gamers and in some instances, the young gamers could be exposed to unwanted contact by giving their personal information while filing profiles or interacting with other online players.

This can be avoided by making sure your kid’s profile is in private mode and advice your child to use fake names or photos on their gaming profiles as well as not share their personal information. It would also be an excellent idea to let your kid know how to approach you if they are bothered or quite unsure about something they have come across while gaming. Enlighten your children on ways to block any player who sends inappropriate content.

Pay to Play

Most online games can be downloaded for free. However, these games also provide extra functions which can be bought once the game goes live. it is a prevalent practice for most downloadable apps and games to give players the opportunity to purchase access to a higher level of the game or buy functions to aid in completing the game. Players could unknowingly run up bills with such purchases. To avoid such scenarios, parents must make sure they set a password to authenticate any in-app purchases or switch off this option through the app settings.