Online Games: Safety Tips For On-line Gaming (George Rose)
SAFETY TIPS FOR ON-LINE GAMING
(with the credit to the US Electronic Software Rating Board)
AS OTHER FORMS OF GAMES, ON-LINE GAMES COME IN ALL FORMS OF GENRE AND FOR ALL AGES
EXAMPLES OF ON-LINE GAMES:
• Role Playing
On Line Games are Available via Computers, Consoles and increasingly WIRELESSLY
• Wireless Access Means That On-Line Games are Available via Smart Phones or Other Forms
of Mobile Devices at ANY TIME on Demand
On Line games can be as simple as browser based games and are absolutely free. Player can find website URL and
simply commence playing. These games utilize simple “flash” technology and are not only easy to play, but easy to
design. Many websites carry such games.
Dedicated Gaming Websites. Gaming portals offer variety of simple games. Games vary from age group to age group and
often divided based on appropriateness. Many of the game portals are supported by advertisements and contests.
Massively Multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Everquest are light years more complicated. WoW has
more than 12 million subscribers worldwide and thousands of employees serving it. These games are very much
like the games for PC and consoles in terms of complexity and graphics, but offer unparalleled social experience.
Games are based on a low subscriber monthly fee and reward player progress through the game.
Virtual Worlds. These games have large environments that provide a form of virtual playground where kids create avatars to
socialize, play games, and create their own space. Virtual worlds offer various levels of chat functionality and are often
monitored for inappropriate conversation. Disney’s Club Penguin is a good example. Soon to be released Lego World is
Social Sites Games. Games available through Facebook and other similar sites have been moving into the dead center
mainstream. They are fun, they are easy, they are cheap. Understand them and watch them. They range from benign to
simulated organized crime.
SAFE PLAY TIPS
Play Along. Sit alongside or look over child’s shoulder, understand what they are doing and explain what the game is asking
them to do, play the game with them.
Use Parental Common Sense. Do not use game as a form of a nanny.
Learn Parental Controls. Platforms Come with Forms of Controls. Learn them and how they are used for on-line play.
Review the options. Some games involve more player interaction, multiplayer action, or player-generated content that kids
can upload and download. But these features can be controlled by the player, so set the controls that you're comfortable with,
not just the child. Remember your child maybe better at it than you are.
Block. You can block out strangers and restrict the people your children can play with online to only a select group of
approved friends, kind of like a gamer buddy list. Or decide whether games your child plays should be restricted to games
requiring no communication.
Mute. The “mute” feature allows you to disable the ability to chat with other players during a game, whether it’s typewritten
text or voice chat over a headset.
Monitor. Certain online services provide parents with the option to log into the child’s account and view a list of players their
children have interacted with during an online session, which can be helpful in determining whom they can and cannot play
Watch the language. Language can get intense when kids are hyped up from the action. If you aren't comfortable with what
you hear, use the parental controls that disable online play or communications.
Speak Up. In addition to blocking a player who behaves in an inappropriate manner, you can also notify a game’s publisher or
online service about the offender. Check the online service’s or game publisher’s Terms of Service for instructions on how to
file a complaint about another player, and be sure to include as much information as possible about the player in question.
Be Involved. As a parent, being involved, vigilant and proactive is crucial to online safety. Keep your game console or PC in
a common area of the home so you can keep an eye and ear on the action. Establish an ongoing dialogue with your children
about what they are doing and with whom they are playing online.
Look Out for Mods. Some games offer players the ability to modify their content, sometimes in ways that are not consistent
with the rating. These changes can be made by using a special cheat device or a free downloadable program called a “mod”
that any other player can download for free.
Don’t Disclose. Make sure that your children know not to divulge personal or financially sensitive information about
themselves or other family members when completing profiles, purchasing items or interacting with others online.
Set Limits. Set and discuss limits on what your children can do on the Internet and how long they are allowed to play games
online or off. Establish rules you are comfortable with .
Beware of Cyberbullies. Cyberbullying is a serious and growing problem, and can be just as real and hurtful as the
traditional kind. Be mindful of the warning signs that your child is the target of cyberbullying, and be sure your child knows
and uses proper “etiquette” when playing games online.
Stay Informed. Educate yourself and your children about the virtual world they’re exploring, be it in a video game or on a
social networking web site. Use resources to learn more about how you can help keep your family safe. Game world is moving
at the speed of light. What you learn today is obsolete tomorrow. Stay with it.