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Skills like coordination, teamwork, puzzle solving and multi-tasking are all noted in online gaming. Bringing with it improved motor coordination and a healthy level of competitiveness online gaming has many advantages. However, there are also disadvantages associated with it.

Glen Kaleta author of the article What every parent should know about online gaming states that “the online gaming environment is largely anonymous, which creates the possibility that your kids could encounter offensive content, fraudulent activity, and problematic communications from other parties in the online gaming community”.

Know the risks with online gaming

It is important to keep children safe when it comes to online gaming. Parents need to empower themselves with knowledge and facts in order to protect children in the online environment. A few ideas of how to do this are listed below:

  • Spend time

Sit with your children and help them set up their devices and device security properly. This will also put your mind at ease, as Kaleta notes that “online gaming devices and platforms like Xbox 360, Xbox One and Xbox Live offer numerous parental controls and tools that help you choose the content”

  • Set prenatal controls

It is important to customise the different features that you want on your child’s gamming account. Parents also have the option of being able to set individual controls for different family members.

  • Talk with your children

Speak to your children about appropriate communication and topics that can be discussed online. Encourage them to stick to these topics and if players stray from the ‘healthy’ topics and engage in crude and foul language, you must tell your child to leave the game.

  • Understand the game

Take the time to see what features are available on the game. For example, is it possible not to hear the other players?  Turning off the sound of other players can save your child from crude language.

  • Understand the code of contact

Online gaming platforms monitor activities in order to keep a safe and clean gaming environment. If your child notices that anyone drifts away from these rules tell them to report it immediately.

  • Be wary of your child being harassed or bullied

Online gaming does not allow for threats, bullying or crude content. If you notice that your child is being harassed notify the source of the game and they will intervene.

Katela notes that some gaming devices even monitor your child’s online gaming habits in order to see how they interact with other gamers. “Xbox One, for example, gives a reputation score to each player based on their interactions with the gaming community, offering an easy way to judge your kid’s behaviour”.

As a parent or guardian, you must stay involved in your child’s online gaming habits and celebrate their accomplishments with them. This will enable you to keep track of what they are up to and ensure a safe and fun online gaming experience.