Online Gaming: How to Keep Your Kids Safe

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October is right around the corner and we bet you had no idea that it brings about National Cyber Security Awareness Month. In this post we're working to better inform you on how easy it is to become exposed to online dangers as well as bring you some incredibly important tips on how to better protect your kids while they're gaming.

Online Gaming: How to Keep Your Kids Safe

With the rapidly increasing popularity of mobile devices, comes the ever-growing gaming industry. As of 2017, the App Store features over 2.1 million apps. While not all of these are games, they are entertaining and alluring to anyone who has access to the store - especially children. Even the newest generation of smart toys offer high-tech features like speech and facial recognition, as well as GPS tracking. Scary, right? We’ve provided some ways parents and guardians can be sure their child is playing safe and smart while using the Internet and other tech devices.

Beware of downloads:

  • Make sure you’re only downloading games from a verified download platform. Check out the platforms legitimacy and if there are any reviews, complaints, policies, etc.
  • Since you’re most likely going to be inputting credit card information onto this platform, it’s important to take the time to research who you’re giving your personal details to and what they plan on doing with your private information.

Establish parental controls:

  • Parental control apps help parents gain control over the content their child is interacting with. You’re able to allow them some freedom while still making sure they are being safe on the Internet. 
  • Some of these apps can actually block your child from making in-app purchases, surfing the web freely, and even communicating with other strangers. With cyberbullying still very active in the online world, it’s crucial to shield your child from any foul play.
  • Did you know cybercrime is a multibillion-dollar industry? That’s why it’s so important to establish smart online habits with your child, so they understand what’s acceptable and what is not. 

Secure your Wi-Fi network:

  • When setting up your home Wi-Fi, don’t forget to make a complex password that will keep you and your family safe from cyber criminals.
  • Turn off device features that automatically connect to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi as that could leave devices and personal data vulnerable to other unknown networks. 
  • If you’re on the road a lot with family trips, vacations, work travel, etc, investing in a VPN service will help keep your IP address hidden from others while connected to a public Wi-Fi connection. Install a VPN on all of your kids devices for extra protection while away from your secured home network.
"The VPN market is very fragmented with over 200 companies. The vast majority are small companies that don’t have the longevity or a significant track record of protecting consumers. Also, there are no independent, third-party test organizations to verify the security and other features of these VPN services. Therefore, consumers need a trusted VPN service from a company that has a long track record of providing cyber security products and services." Paige Hanson, Chief of Identity Education, Symantec Corporation

 

Read privacy policies:

  • This might seem like a no-brainer (because it is). Always read the privacy policies for any online games your kids might be downloading and playing. 
  • A privacy policy should talk about how your data will be secured - giving you a good idea of the games legitimacy and even intentions.
  • The policy should also list what security measures they have in place to help protect your child and any other personal data that is stored while on the game. Make sure you’re comfortable with what you’re reading.
It's important to always stay active in your child's life on and offline. We hope that this article has given you a better understanding of the dangers of online gaming. 

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    • Brooke Pakulski