Summer is finally here! And for many kids, that means more time for video games!
As a parent, your involvement is critical when it comes to helping children game more safely. Take an active interest in the games that your child plays. You can research ratings and content on www.esrb.org. This website is maintained by the Entertainment Software Rating Board which rates thousands of games each year.
Here are NCMEC’s quick tips to keep your kids safer while gaming:
- Know which safety features are available on the gaming equipment that your child uses. For example, many platforms have "cross-play" features where people can find and communicate with users across multiple platforms and devices.
- Keep gaming consoles in an easy-to-supervise location and be aware of other places where your child may be accessing games.
- Tell your child never to give out personal information while gaming or agree to meet anyone outside of the game.
- Set rules about how long your child may play, what types of games are appropriate and who else may participate.
- Have your child check with you before using a credit or debit card online.
- Check to see if the games your child plays have reporting features or moderators. Review these features with your child. Remember, you can also report inappropriate online interactions with children to CyberTipline.org.
It’s crucial to have open conversations with your kids about safety. Sometimes it can be hard when you’re not sure what to ask. Here are some easy conversation starters to get those discussions going:
- Would you show me how some of your favorite games are played? Could we play together?
- How do you respond if someone bothers you while you are gaming?
- How much do you let people know about you while gaming?
- What kinds of people do you game with?
- Do you feel safe while you are gaming online? Why or why not?
Finally, if anything makes your child uncomfortable, you can make a report to CyberTipline.org. Visit MissingKids.org/NetSmartz for more on digital safety issues. There you'll find helpful videos, printable tip sheets, presentations and other activities. Download the full Gaming Safely tip sheet here.