While you may not be interested in online gaming yourself, the simple fact of the matter is that your children are. Mobile games and online gaming have become one of the most loved activities of 9-16 year olds. In fact, gaming is even more popular than spending time on Facebook! This makes sense when you consider that online and mobile games run the gamut from sports, to missions, to interactive/group games, and often not only serve as a form of entertainment, but also help children to explore a range of interests while learning about teamwork.
The tricky thing is, these games are available for download online, and don’t require parental consent. This isn’t always an issue, as some games are free. But others are not, and while others appear to be, they often require monetary funds to progress through levels. It’s important to talk to your children about whether they’re allowed to make purchases without your permission – after all, we’ve all heard the horror stories of the 12 year old that racked up a $12k bill. Communication is key here, and it’s a good opportunity to help teach your children to respect money.
Engaging in conversation about your children’s behaviors online is always a good idea, but the best way to get a feel for what they’re doing is to actually experience it for yourself. Take a turn at their farm building game, or car racing game when they’ve gone to bed to understand the types of content they’re engaging with. This is a good way of revealing things about the game that they might not otherwise think to share with you. Take the chat function that often comes with games today, while that might be the norm for your children, it’s important that you teach them about the risks of talking and sharing personal information with people that they feel like they know, but in reality, they don’t.
If you’re concerned that relying on your children to communicate with you about their online and mobile gaming activities isn’t enough, you should be. It’s not the most reliable method, which is why BullGuard has created a few products to help you keep an eye on them. Mobile Security helps you keep an eye on what your children are doing on their mobile device, and the latest product, Premium Protection, includes Parental Control and Social Media Protection to keep your kids in check and protect them from inappropriate content and ill-intended strangers.
Get the security tools your children need, and protect them without embarrassing them!