Video:Safety Tips for Virtual World Games for Kidswith Jonathon Stewart
Want to learn about safety tips for virtual world games for kids before you let your kids play one? Here, see information about the kids of virtual world games on the market.See Transcript
Transcript:Safety Tips for Virtual World Games for KidsVirtual world games are all the rage with kids from as young as six through the teen years. They are a great way to learn strategy and socialize with other kids. However, whether it is Club Penguin and Webkinz World or World of Warcraft, caution must be taken as not everyone may be who they seem, putting the most vulnerable in danger. Here’s how to keep them safe.
Important Safety Tips for Virtual World Games for KidsVirtual worlds are online spaces where people create avatars, which are graphical representations of themselves, and they use these to learn, play games, shop and socialize. Those aimed at kids have many safety features built-in. These include language filters, which are supposed to stop any explicit or profane language. While some virtual worlds have real-time monitors, beware that many do not have any type of monitoring. This means that, as a parent, you’ll need to be the monitor.
More Safety Tips for Virtual World Games for KidsOne of the best safety tips is to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your kids and keep those lines open. Keep it low-key and not defensive. Just let them know about some of the dangers and things to look out for and avoid. Let them know that you are available to talk about any mean or abusive behavior they experience online so they know they have a lifeline.
Try the game yourself while you help your child set up their profile. If they are older and have already done this, ask them to show you how it works. In the meantime, though, know where certain controls are and then ask them how they could get to these controls in order to keep their personal information private. Once there, you can show them what they should keep private from those who might ask for real names, addresses, and phone numbers. Make sure they also know to keep passwords private.
Additional Safety Tips for Virtual World Games for KidsIt’s not necessarily a good idea to spy on your kids by signing onto the game yourself and following their every move. Kids are way smarter than you think. And, if they find out that you are doing this, that circle of trust can be broken and it may not be fixed that quickly if at all. Give them space and trust that they will do the right thing, especially if you have established that all-important communication.
Encourage your children to use the available safety features. One of the most important is to represent their ages accurately when registering for each game they play. These safety features also provide some ways to block your child from moving into areas where they could be in danger, such as the instant messaging. Make sure they know how to block people who are bullying them or sending them inappropriate things as well as help them see the value of reporting these people. The safety features are also in place to block kids of a certain age from entering certain sections of a virtual world game that may not be suitable for them, so it’s good to make sure those settings are in place.
Lastly, keep an eye out for any changes in behavior with your kids. If they start to spend more and more time online, their sleep or grades are suffering, or they just don’t seem themselves, be proactive in talking with them and checking on their gaming habits. These games can become addictive so it’s important to help your kids keep them in their proper place as fun pastimes rather than the center of their universe.
I'm Jonathon Stewart, with About.com.
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