Role Playing Games

What you need to know about them

Roleplaying can be described as the activity of children assuming the persona of a fictional character in an imaginary setting in order to create a story. Research into role-playing suggests that fans of books and movies, such as Harry Potter and Pokemon, usually carry out role-playing activities. Michael Tresca, author of the book The evolution of fantasy role-playing games states that characters of diverse backgrounds come together to achieve a common goal, just as a variety of players gather together to play the game.

Social media networks such as Instagram or Tumblr assist children in engaging in this activity by providing an avenue for role-playing safely between friends. Some of the larger role-playing groups will later break up into smaller groups in order to meet with each other and interact on other social networks such as Skype.

Role-playing games explained

If a teenager wants to engage in role-playing, they would first need to select an image of their choice and then write up a storyline to go with the image. This would be done using hash tags, for example: #rp (standing for role-play), #openrp

Sharing interests with friends via role-playing is fun and exciting for most involved, however, sadly role-playing often turns offensive with inappropriate words, photos and plots involving ‘sex’. This happens because anyone can join in role-playing, and more often than not children start role-playing with strangers.

Taking role-playing seriously

Parents and teachers need to take role-playing seriously as people can become anonymous on the Internet, making it nearly impossible for children to tell if they are role-playing with someone who shares the same interests as them or if they are role-playing with a child predator yearning for their trust. Role-playing may start out as innocent and fun, however, overtime online predators and social groomers attempt to get children to send personal information and pictures.

Children often develop a special relationship with the person that they are role-playing with and in time will send out personal details about themselves leading to frightening consequences.

What can you to do protect your child?

  • Keep your children’s social networking accounts private in order to ensure that pictures and videos are not shared via role-playing
  • Confirm that your child is only friends with people online that you know and trust
  • Communicate with your child about inappropriate conversations and unsuitable pictures to share online.
  • If anyone that they are role-playing with asks them to engage in any incongruous requests, tell your child to report them