~~ Parental tips on how to keep video gaming safe and fun.
Gaming is no longer a small past-time for children. With the advent of online gaming a parent must take the bull by the horns and teach their children the rights and wrongs of these cyber worlds. Video games, especially those featuring online or multiplayer options, are now equal to or fast exceeding the appeal of television, music, and movies for children and young adults. By educating yourself about the gaming community, game ratings, and how to use the privacy and safety tools built into the games, you can help keep your child\'s gaming experiences safe, age-appropriate, friendly, fun, and even educational.
Here are a few basic tips on how to make informed decisions that will help protect your child when they play games and compete online:
~~ Parental tips on how to deal with cyberbullies.
Chances are that a kid near you has been bothered by one of these bullies at least once while playing online multiplayer video games. These cyberbullies are the Internet equivalent of playground bullies, who find fun in embarrassing and pushing around others. Typical behavior includes: taunting others, especially beginners (also known as newbies), killing fellow teammates in the game (also known as team killing), using inappropriate language, cheating, forming roving gangs with other bullies, blocking entryways, luring monsters toward unsuspecting players, or otherwise using the game merely to annoy a convenient target or to harass a particular player who has reacted to their ill will.
Although they are only a small percentage of the video-gaming community, sometimes you just cannot seem to get away from them. As a result, many game sites and providers are becoming less tolerant of cyberbullies and are employing new methods to police for them and otherwise limit their impact. The best way to deal with these bullies is to educate yourself and prepare your kids on how to deal with them on their own terms.
Here are are few tips to help you handle these jerks:
~~ Create a family contract to help protect your kids online.
It is a good idea to make sure that every member of the family understands what is and what is not allowed to be done online. A great idea is to sit down together and draw up a family code of conduct for all members to agree on. You can create different contracts for each member based on age and needs so they understand the rules when using the Internet. Everyone should sign this contract to show that they understand the rules that were set and agree to follow them. You can even list out repercussions if the rules are not followed. You should also print and keep the contract visible to help remind everyone of what they agreed to.
Here is an example contract that can be used:
01) Talk with my parents to learn the rules for using the Internet, including where I can go, what I can do, when I can go online, and how long I can be online ( ___ minutes or ___ hours).
02) Never give out personal information such as my home address, telephone number, my parents\' work address or telephone number, credit card numbers, or the name and location of my school without my parents\' permission.
03) Always tell my parents immediately if I see or receive anything on the Internet that makes me feel uncomfortable or threatened, including e-mail messages, Web sites, or even anything in the regular mail from Internet friends.
04) Never agree to meet anyone in person that I have met online, without my parent\'s permission.
05) Never send pictures of myself or other family members to other people through the Internet or regular mail without first checking with my parents.
06) Never give out my Internet passwords to anyone (even my best friends) other than my parents.
07) Be good while online and not do anything that could hurt or anger other people or that is against the law.
08) Never download, install, or copy anything from disks or the Internet without proper permission.
09) Never do anything on the Internet that costs money without first asking permission from my parents.
10) Let my parents know my Internet logon and chat names, listed below:
Name (child) _______________________ Date ____________
Parent or guardian _______________________ Date ____________