Online Gaming Safety Tips For Children & Teens

A recent Trend Micro Digital Joneses survey found that 41 percent of homes with kids five and under have internet connected game consoles and that more kids access the internet through game consoles than through a computer, so keeping kids safe while gaming is more important than ever. 

Wow! I couldn’t believe that statistic. I even emailed to verify that it was really five and under and wasn’t supposed to say five and over. When it comes to online gaming it is very important to start the safety education at a young age. Trend Micro has provided me with some great tips on how to keep children safe while gaming and I wanted to share a few of them with you all.

Stay Involved – When I was growing up my parents kept the family computer in the tv room like the “experts” suggested. As children, we were always mindful that our parents were there and we could ask them questions or talk to them about concerns we had while we were online. I think any gaming console that has the capability to be connected to the internet should follow this same rule. Keeping your gaming console in a common area of your home gives parents an idea of how much time their kids are spending using it and what types of games they are playing without having to be invasive. Games are also a fun way for families to spend time together.
Rely on Ratings – Just like movies have ratings, so do video games. The entertainment Software Rating Board rates games and the ratings can give both children and parents an idea as to the content of the games. Each family can then decide which ratings are age appropriate for their children. It’s also important for parents to preview each game so they know what their children are playing. Some parents may be okay with violence but not language, or car chases but not violence, so it’s always important to see why games are rated how they are. {Common Sense Media is a great website to get ratings for games along with movies, tv shows, websites, music, and more.}
Use Parental Controls – Gaming consoles have parental controls so that you can block kids from accessing games that aren’t age-appropriate.  You can also set limits on how much time they spend gaming and who they play with. Parents can also disable internet access on some gaming devices so they can ensure that their children aren’t interacting with people that they do not know.

Want to learn more about online gaming safety? Trend Micro has created a great ebook called “Level Up and Secure Your Online Gaming Experience”. You can view the ebook here.

What do you do to keep your children safe while they are gaming online?

(Disclosure: As part of the Digital Joneses campaign I have received software and technology products from Trend Micro. All thoughts are my own.)