One thing that many of us parents forget is that with online gaming there are numerous ways that our children are at risk. In order to make sure that our children are being smart about online gaming, our best bet is to make sure that they are educated about the dangers online. Basically what this means is that you need to talk to your child about how dangerous it is to give out personal information to strangers online or even through live voice chat. But to make sure that we are doing everything that we can to keep our children safe while playing games online, we also need to talk to them about the various dangers that can be found in using instant messaging and other means of communication on the Internet. By knowing everything they can, we are empowering our children to be smart about online gaming.
Here are some tips for parents for smart online gaming.
Be very careful about sending attachments. Consider whether anything in an attachment might be too confidential for IM transmission. As a courtesy to the people you are sending the attachment to, every attachment should be scanned by up-to-date anti-virus software. If your computer isn’t protected by anti-virus software, you shouldn’t be using IM. Be careful about attachments you receive, as well. Any attachments that you receive can be a source of viruses and other malicious software. Your anti-virus software should be configured to automatically scan all attachments before opening; but even then, you can never be 100% certain that it will catch everything.
Even if you’re not the person typing the instant message anything that is sent through your screen name you are responsible for. So just like with an email you never want to include material that may be considered libelous, obscene, offensive, defamatory, racist, sexist etc. So be careful even letting your children use your instant messenger or even your screen name for gaming websites and make sure they are aware of what can happen if something bad does happen.
Another thing to remember about attachments is to never open an attachment if you have doubts about the source, this includes IM’s. You need to remember that the source of an IM can be faked and some malicious software can take control of a victim’s computer without them even knowing about it. A message isn’t guaranteed to be safe just because it appears to come from a person or organization you know. If anything appears suspicious make sure that you contact the sender some other way besides instant message.
Even though the Internet might seem like a different world we need to teach our children that it isn’t really a separate life and that what we do online has consequences to what happens in our lives. So what we want to teach our children is that we treat everybody online they way we want to be treated. Basically we want to remember that behind the computer screen there is an actual person and not a robot and that if we are not careful we can hurt their feelings or cause even bigger problems.
Another thing that we want to make sure that we teach our children is that there are different rules for the Internet than there are for the physical world and just like the physical world each area of the Internet has its own rules and regulations. We want to teach our children that they need to find out what those rules and regulations are and make sure that they follow those rules and regulations while visiting those areas.