Now that the summer holidays are in full swing you are probably wondering what you can do with the kids each day. It certainly costs us much more in the holidays as we try to find things to fill their time and stop any bickering between bored siblings. With this in mind, it can be tempting to let them spend more time gaming and online. With a teenage boy and an iPad addicted tween I know the pressures only too well.
We have a fairly relaxed approach to gaming in our house and that is because Dylan is quite good at self-regulating his time. However, we do still have ground rules. Did you know that nearly early two-thirds (61%) of parents allow their children to play one to four hours of video games every day and as the summer holidays hit, this could be set to rise? To combat this we have do keep an eye on how long he spends online.
When Dylan was younger it was all about the game Call of Duty and I was not popular with him as I would not allow him to buy or play the game. I was always surprised at how many of his peers (who were 11 at the time) were playing games with an age rating of 18. Now that is older I have relaxed about certain games and obviously, Fortnite is very much the game of the moment.
Fortnite though, has bought with it other issues as it is mostly played in groups and involves talking online. Again this is a new development in technology can bring positives and a social aspect to gaming which could be quite an isolating experience otherwise. However, it does open the doorway to new worries for example 42% of children are now playing games where they can chat directly with people, despite nearly half (48%) of parents agree that their child is at risk of online grooming. Therefore understanding the games your children are playing is paramount in giving them the skills and knowledge to keep themselves safe online.
Allen Scott, Consumer EMEA Director at McAfee has put together these comprehensive tips to ensure that your young people stay safe online.
- Start conversations early. If you start talking about online safety early, it will make your job that much easier when your children get older. If your kids are young, start with simple rules like: “don’t open emails or messages from people you don’t know” and “decline friend requests from strangers.” You want online safety to be part of normal behaviour.
- Be careful what you click. Most children have been using digital activities for entertainment from an early age, desensitising them to the potentials risks of online behaviour. Cybercriminals can use the popularity of video games to entice gamers to click on potentially malicious links. Think about what you are clicking on and ensure that it’s from a reliable source.
- Control how long they play. Set a good example by minimising your use of devices around the home, but also use parental control software to set time limits on your child’s device usage to help minimise exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites.
- Avoid malicious links. If your children are searching online for gaming tips or new games to download, a tool like McAfee WebAdvisor can help them avoid dangerous websites and links, and will warn them if they do accidentally click on something malicious.
- Be protected. No matter what anyone in the family is doing online, it’s best to use a security product like McAfee Total Protection that can help keep connected devices safe from malware. Just like any PC application, be sure to keep security software updated with the latest software version.
Do you implement family rules for online gaming, let me know in the comments below.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.