Kids spend a lot of time playing games online.
This equates to them having more chances to meet strangers and less
time to do the house chores, school duties, and other family
This also means that there is a great chance that they
expose themselves to inappropriate venue, unsafe people, and
So, it's seems appropriate that we do something about
This doesn't mean that we ban kids online games from
them; we just have to make some modifications on the way we let them
play games online.
Here are some things we can do -
Learn the basics. As parents, we have the
responsibility to our kids and the things that influence them
online. Make sure that you are familiar with the game ratings and
the sites that offer online games that are appropriate for the age
of your kids.
It's a good idea to read
reviews from gaming sites *
to find some appropriate
games for our kids to play.
Set rules. This must be done before your kids play
for the first time. Discuss with them the specific time, day, and
conditions they are allowed to play online; and the dangers of
giving out personal information online including their name and the
place they live. Make sure that they understand them pretty well.
Use "handle" or nicknames. As mentioned, your kids
shouldn't tell their personal information to anyone online.
Encourage them not use their real names online. Aside from the
security, using a handle is cool. Help children think up their own
"handle" or internet nickname. Some examples like "SoccerKid", "BaseballBum",
"BikerGuy" - which are meaningful to them, do not give away personal
Watch and Suggest. Know what games your kids play
and whom they play with. Make sure that the games are appropriate
for their age. If they dont know where to find a gaming site for
their age, find one for them.
Monitor game messages and chats. Most interactive
games online allow players to talk with each other. And there are
instances where players use offensive words. Teach your kids to mute
the voice message or block their messages from these players. You
can also report these players to the administrator of the game
through chat, email or feedbacks.
Play with them. There is no better way to ensuring
the safety of your kids online than by sitting and playing with
Be open. Teach your kids to approach you if they encounter
bullies online or if they feel uncomfortable with what they
experienced during the game. Respond to them immediately.
* by C|Net is a good place to start.
... Richard Rossbauer