Parent resources on protecting children and family online - part #2

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Show #52:

  • Date: 2006-02-13
  • Subject: Parent resources on protecting children and family online - part #2
  • Duration: 20:19
  • Format: MP3
  • Size: 8,376 kb

Topics Discussed:

  • My Comments
  • Busy week but something special regaring data protection coming down the pipe
  • In The Trenches Promo ( )
  • Supporting the show can be done various ways
  • Please play the Official HomeNetworkHelp.Info Promo
  • Parental tips on how to keep video gaming safe and fun
  • Parental tips on how to deal with cyberbullies
  • Create a family contract to help protect your kids online

Additional Information:

~~ 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:

  • Educate yourself. Become familiar with game ratings and privacy statements, and review each online gaming site\'s terms of acceptable use.
  • Observe. Check out the games your children play and whom they play with. Place the computer or game console in a place where it can be easily monitored if needed. And honestly, take an interest in the games your children play.
  • Set rules. You should do this before your child goes online, and be comfortable that he or she understands them. Typical rules include limiting play time, playing with off-line world friends only, and never chatting with strangers or giving out any personal information.
  • Monitor game chats and messages. If a player is using inappropriate language, encourage your child to tell you and you may be able to select their name from the players list to mute or block their messages, or you can report them to game administrators.
  • Ensure privacy. Advise your kids to never give out any personal information ever. Make sure they know to tell you immediately if someone asks them for this information.
  • Use voice chat wisely. A lot of games allow voice chatting, so set the rules early about what is acceptable and not.
  • Choose appropriate names. Have your child use suitable screen or character names that follow the rules of the game site. These names should not reveal any personal information or potentially invite harassment.
  • Be aware of cyberbullies. Learn how to deal with bullies in online games.
  • Teach your kids cybersafe habits. Tell your kids that if they feel uncomfortable with anything that is going on in a game, they should stop playing and tell you about it immediately, so you can record and report the issue if necessary.
  • Participate. One of the safer ways for your kids to play online games is if you play with them. This may be the last thing they want to do, especially with older children, but it is a good way to make sure everything is safe. It also helps build a relationship with your child and shows them that you are interested in what they are interested.

~~ 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:

  • Ignore them. If your child does not react to them, most bullies will eventually get bored and go away.
  • Change game options. Have your kids play games with changeable rules or options that prevent certain tactics they use, such as eliminating teammates.
  • Create a private game. Most newer, multiplayer games allow players to form their own exclusive games that permit only their friends to play.
  • Play on sites with strict rules. Play on game sites with enforceable codes of conduct or terms of service and live game administrators who can ban those that do not play by the rules.
  • Do something else. If a cyberbully will not bothering your child, have them try a different game, or take a break and come back later.
  • Report game glitches. Work with your child to identify exploitable glitches in the game or new methods of cheating. Report these to the game site administrator.
  • Play games that limit bullies. Suggest playing newer games that provide specific resources for dealing with these people, such as reporting offenders to game administrators, message blocking or muting, and being able to vote bullies off.
  • Do not fight fire with fire. Make sure your child is not using these bully tactics themselves as this will likely encourage more bad behavior, or worse, label your child as a bully.
  • Avoid using provocative names. Preempt any problems by having your child avoid screen names or nicknames that could encourage bullies.
  • Do not give out personal information. Cyberbullies can use real personal information to further harass your child or cause other problems.

~~ 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:

I will:
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 ____________

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