Kids can play games on any device, anywhere, at any time. Nearly every game today comes with some online functionality whether it’s in-game chat or micro-transactions for in-game currency. Here are a few tips to keep your family Safe and Secure Online when gaming is part of your household.
- Encourage kids to set up private chats with trusted friends to avoid unwanted comments and exposure to inappropriate conversations.
- Talk about expectations and set rules for time limits and allowed games.
- Encourage keeping chat conversations relevant to the game.
- Discuss options for setting up private chats with friends using tools like Google Hangouts or Skype instead of using the in-game chat feature.
- Implement restrictions in the app store to prevent younger kids from downloading apps above a certain rating and set passwords to prevent accidental in-game purchases.
Ensure your child understands what personal information means and that it does not belong in-game or online at any time.
Know the ESRB rating system and follow it. It’s similar to movie ratings. These ratings also carry over to smart phones and tablets. To see how your kid’s games are rated, visit www.esrb.org/ratings/ or download the ESRB Rating Search app.
Keep in mind: A popular game with a Teen rating may have a very adult-oriented community of players. Just because you allow your child to play a game that has an appropriate rating, does not mean other gamers will follow suit in their conversations and language. Communication and monitoring are still vital.