Online gaming has become increasingly popular with children and adults of all ages and genders in recent years. There is a vast array of game-types available online ranging from massively multiplayer online games (MMOG) (an online game with large numbers of players, often playing in a common open world, enabling players to cooperate and compete with each other) to digital arcades and sports games. Gaming has been shown to have positive effects on social skills and problem-solving, but it is not an activity completely without risks.
It can be hard for adults to supervise online gaming. There are thousands of online games and apps, making it hard to know exactly what children are playing. In addition, children can play from anywhere thanks to mobile gaming devices, smartphones and tablets. Games can also have confusing or inappropriate content for children. Some have adult language or are violent or sexual. Others have advertisements that let children make purchases without parental authorization.
Many online games have features that allow players to talk or IM with each other. Some of these players may:
- Gather sensitive information like passwords and credit card numbers by scamming children or hacking directly into their accounts.
- Engage in the online enticement of children by having sexual conversations, requesting sexual images, or more rarely, asking children to meet offline. They may even try to get children to share sexual images by sharing their own images first.