Good morning Dinos! It’s another Let’s Talk Tuesday, so let’s get to it! Today our topic is video game safety. If your child is anything like mine, he is obsessed with Minecraft. Now, compared to some other games out there, I really like Minecraft. It teaches kids creativity and even in survival mode is not very violent – at least there is no blood and gore when you destroy the creepers and other monsters. My son actually prefers to play it in creative mode so he’s constantly building these amazing little worlds. Right now, his current obsession is the Titanic, so what does he do? Build his own Minecraft version of Titanic. And it actually looks like a real ship – he’s researched how to build it properly. If I have one complaint about Minecraft, it’s the popularity of all the YouTube videos, like Stampy, that make my son want to do the online version of the game, rather than the self-contained version he plays by himself. He’s only 8, so the thought of him playing video games online where he could potentially be playing with strangers who may do or say things I consider inappropriate is scary. And it seems like now you can’t buy a video game system that doesn’t have this online component to it. But there are ways you can help keep your kiddos safe, even when they start begging to play online with their friends.
First of all, make sure you keep your video game systems in a central location, like the living room or a game room where you can monitor what your children are doing. Don’t let them have their own system in their bedroom – make it a family game system. Second, play games with your kids. Both my 8-year old and 3-year old love it when I play video games with them. I know this may change as they move into the teenage years, but by playing with them now I become familiar with the games they are playing and stay involved with their game time. Third, make sure you have turned on parental controls and your kids do not know your password. This is super important if you want to make sure your kids can’t download games or play online aspects of games without your permission. Fourth, talk to your kids. Make sure they know the rules, especially about playing online with friends, and that they know what to do if someone starts talking to them in an inappropriate way or asking for inappropriate information during online play.
For more tips on video game safety check out this link from staysafeonline.org: https://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/for-parents/gaming-tips.