What Parents Need to know about Online Gaming
Many parents have asked me about online gaming and what the dangers are that face children. So I put together a quick little guide to help parents understand the dangers with some suggestions to help protect your kids.
NO. 1 DANGER – EXTENDED SCREEN TIME
RECOMMENDATION – Parental Monitoring Software
This is a must in my opinion. It allows you to set time limits for Online Gaming, Guilt Free; it also allows you to build in a “reward” system for kids by allowing them to “earn” more screen time.
- QUSTODIO – Three Different Plans Available, depending on how many “devices” you wish to monitor. Prices range from about $40-$100 per year. This is the best ALL IN ONE software that I have seen. It has location tracking, text, and call monitoring all is one.
- DISNEY CIRCLE – This is good if you want to just monitor and control Screen Time, Internet traffic at your house only. This will not monitor text messages, calls, and does not have location tracking. Cost is one time fee $50.
- NET NANNY – Very Similar to Qustodio except their pricing is per device; $9-$12 per device. It has all of the same features as QUSTODIO except it does not have location tracking.
NO. 2 DANGER – On-Line Chat
Predators of all types use Video Games to target kids. It could be a Sexual Predator, Criminal Opportunist (Credit Card Theft, Identity Theft), Extortion (Swatting), or maybe as simple as Cyber Bullying. The main tactic of predators who seek out victims via Online Gaming platforms is they “groom” their victims by gaining trust while playing video games. Predators may suggest to join teams or become partners within the game, but typically sexual predators will attempt to get your child to move to a 3rd Party Chat. Most common chat room for Online gaming is DISCORD. I listed all of the main chat apps that Predators typically try and move their victims to on my “banned app” list. The next step may include suggesting your child to meet in person.
- Disable the On-Line Chat Function
- If the Chat Function is enabled. Your child can only play with KNOWN gamers. They have to be KNOWN and not a friend of a friend situation.
- Monitor their gaming. Physically either play the game with them or watch them play from time to time.
- Look at the screen when they are playing. Typically, the gamer names of people they are talking with will show in the top left of the screen. Ask who they are.
- Do Not Allow ANY third party chats or On-Line Communications No Matter What.
NO 3. DANGER – Gaming Names or Tags
The Gaming Name or Gaming Tag could provide Predators a ton of information about your child. When choosing a Gaming Tag. Think about it first and choose wisely!
- Nondescript Gaming Tag
- Do Not include real names, birth years, City of Residence etc.
NO. 4 DANGER – Account Security
Credit Card theft and Identity theft are real problems with online gaming accounts. When you “setup” your Online Account. I recommend that you DO NOT use your real name, real email address, or any real Credit Card.
- Establish the account with a “Family or Home Email Address.” This email is only used for special purposes tied to your home and nothing else. I would recommend using PROTONMAIL. Proton Mail has end to end encryption capability.
- Establish a home “Google Voice” phone number for the same purpose.
- Masked Credit Card should be used for online gaming. A Masked credit card is not real, therefore, if your account is compromised it won’t matter. If you want more information on it here is a short video I did on it a while back. PRIVACY.COM
NO. 5 DANGER – Account Takeovers/Offers to Buy Account
If you didn’t know. Some of these online gaming accounts are very valuable and there are hundreds of accounts on sale right now. The premise is…. Gamer builds the account up to a certain “status” and then offers it up for sale; and believe it or not. People buy them! Your child may get an random offer from someone to buy his account.
- If someone is asking to buy your child’s account. It is most likely a SCAM and it will be followed by asking your child for personal information about the account to “verify” it. It’s a scam…
- Never Give out ANY personal information about your account.
- Do Not BUY anyone else’s account. It is most likely a “hacked” account.
HELP ME, HELP YOU! A quote from one of my favorite movies…..
If you have any personal questions that you do not want to ask in the forum just email me direct and I will do my best to help you out.