Taking a step back, kids used to gather around in the field to get to enjoy their creative games such as soccer. Not to say that they do not do this today, but to say that they have alternative pastime games to play such as Caillou games– thanks to the internet. Digital technology has indeed made waves in the gaming industry. And children are now able to access online games quickly. Like any other invention, there is always two sides of the coin; the good and the bad. In as much as playing online games is beneficial, there are also some risks that they pose to your children. Let’s dig deeper into some of these risks;
Perhaps this is one of the main dangers that children are exposed to when playing online games. Online gaming brought a lot of conveniences as the games are easily accessible. As such, without necessary restrictions being taken by the parent, a child can easily fall to gaming addiction. Setting time limits is a considerable measure to be taken as it ensures that your child doesn’t get hooked. Secondly, parents should also monitor their children’s gaming habits. Some of the warning signs of addiction include a child always being on their phones, withdrawing from family members, sudden changes of behaviors and so on.
It is quite unfortunate that children are at the risk of being bullied even in the online space. Sometimes when your child is playing against other players, they may receive threatening messages which instil fear in them. Sometimes, they are even threatened to be killed if they tell their parents about it. However, as aforementioned, it is vital for parents to monitor the gaming habits of their children. If you notice any sudden changes in their behaviour, it is good to talk to your child to find out what is going on. Additionally, upon the realization that your child is a victim of cyberbullying, you can either report the issue or block the block bully.
Viruses slowly creep in console devices, tablets or even through smartphones. Therefore, parents need to be very keen on the types of games their child is downloading. Some of them come in as links and the moment the kid clicks it; the virus gets into your computer. And oftentimes, before you get to realise that your device is malware-infected, the virus will have already done a lot of damage. Therefore, it is crucial first to install anti-virus software. Significantly more, lock the play store by setting a password so that your kids don’t download any game without their consent.
- Privacy issues
Parents need to start gaming conversations as soon as they realize their children are getting interested in online games. Let them know that they need to take care of themselves in the online space. Also, inform them that they should never use their real names on this accounts and neither should they share any information with any gamer on the site. Sharing their personal information is one way that cybercriminals use to manipulate your kids and threaten them. And to avoid this, it is best to take the necessary precautions.
- Health risks
We cannot neglect the fact that there are a number of health risks associated with continuous gaming. For one, if a child spends too much time seated in front of the computer, they might start complaining about back pains, neck pains, fatigue and eyesight problems. However, all these can be avoided by ensuring that children don’t spend too much time in front of the computer and secondly by making sure they have a comfortable gaming setting.
- Sexual exploitation
Sometimes, when a child is looking for online games to download, they might stumble upon games that have some sexual content. If not keen enough, the child might get introduced to sexual content and pornographic materials at a very early stage. Also, there have been a lot of cases where malicious people start chatting with children only for them to begin exploiting them sexually. Watch out for such!
As children start gaming online, parents should talk to them about the risks too. Additionally, parents should monitor their children’s gaming habits closely to ensure that they do not fall victim of any cybercrimes.