By Carl Kerby Jr.
Many of the games available today include options to play online. They can pit players against other players anywhere in the world. This adds a level of excitement to the experience and connects gamers worldwide, but at the same time it adds a great deal of risk. Before allowing your children to play online games, take some time to understand the risks of online gaming.
Christian parents, be aware!
Kids might download the bad with the good:
Games are often downloaded from links received in emails, instant messages, or text messages. Some of these might link to less-than- reputable sites. Your child might download what appears to be a good game, but the download might also contain offensive content, spam, or malware.
Kids might be tricked into providing personal information:
In addition, some of these “free” games may require an extensive profile, which would require providing personal information. Once the game owner has this information, they could illegally sell it for personal gain and without consideration of how it will be used. The information could also be given away or used with malicious intent. Remember that the information provided for a profile will likely include the gamer’s age.
Kids might be bullied or exposed to bad language:
Some gamers play simply to harass and taunt other players. The might use inappropriate or foul language, or they might bully other players by cheating or intimidation.
Kids might make friends with the wrong people:
There are predators out there that will pretend to be kids and try to earn the trust of under-age gamers. They might share tips on how to win, giving gifts like points, or offer to correspond via email or phone. Their intent is never good. They might be trying to run a scam or to arrange to meet in-person.
Christian parents, take heed!
If after evaluating the risks, you decide to allow your child to engage in allow gaming, then there are some important things to remember.
1. Train you children how to play online games responsibly. Point out to them the dangers and what they should watch for. Remind them to report anything suspicious to you (not just tell their friends).
2. Engage with your kids while they play online. Observe the games and the emotions involved with this activity. Make sure both are healthy and God- honoring.
3. Be aware of how your children use the internet — not just gaming, but everywhere they go on the worldwide web. It really is a type of “web” and it can capture their attention and their affection.
4. Set limits and boundaries. Certainly set boundaries on where they go, but also set restrictions on how much time is devoted to gaming. If they spend all their time gaming, they aren’t doing the more important things like reading God’s Word and growing spiritually.
5. Teach your children to keep personal information a secret. Never, never, never give any personal information to any website or person online. It can be dangerous.
6. Children must watch their own conduct online. Remind them that they are children of the King and so they are His ambassadors. They should always represent Him well, in what they say, what they think and what they do.
Parents, be discerning!
Psalm 119:66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.
Parents, discipline your children!
Proverbs 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
Parent, disciple your children!
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
And always remember!
Proverbs 16:17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.
Parents, did you know?
If you own a video game console, you can control things like:
- - Which games can be played.
- - Which movies and TV shows can be watched.
- - How long each family member can use the console – Whether or not someone can access the internet
- Levels of online safety and privacy settings for child accounts.
Xbox 360 - http://support.xbox.com/en-US/billing-and-subscriptions/parental-controls/xbox-live-parental-control
Nintendo Wii - http://www.nintendo.com/consumer/systems/wii/en_na/ht_settings.jsp
Playstation 3 - http://manuals.playstation.net/document/en/ps3/current/basicoperations/ parentallock.html