“Gaming” has grown exponentially over the past few decades. It is now considered an actual sport! Gaming popularity is so great there are game arenas popping up all over the country. Rode Investigations has done extensive research on this subject and has found that not only is Gaming an addiction but it is becoming a prevalent place for online bullying as well as child predators!
Due to the advancement and ever-changing ways of technology, we as parents must adapt our approach on protecting our children from potential predators. This approach is no longer just in real life and real-world scenarios, in today’s world, we as parents, now have to prepare our children for the “Stranger Dangers” of the online world as well.
As a parent you should educate yourself on the games your children play before letting them play. You should research the ESBR’s (Entertainment Software Rating Boards) rating system and make sure the game is age appropriate for your child. Then you should become aware of the settings in the game so you can block any unwanted features of said game such as online chat, invitations from strangers, video chat options etc.
Predators use a method called “Grooming” which is “a process by which a child predator gains the trust of a victim by building a relationship with the child and then breaking down his or her defenses.” The predator then has the child’s trust and they begin exploitation. They play on the child’s team in cooperative game play in addition to showing the child how cool they are by exposing the child to things that the parents wouldn’t necessarily show them. The predator eventually suggests moving their communication to a third-party app such as What’s App or Snapchat. These are apps that after a message has been sent or received it disappears after a few seconds or minutes.
Bullying is another issue with online gaming. Anonymity of players and the use of avatars allow users to create alter-egos or fictional versions of themselves, which is part of the fun of gaming. But it also allows users to harass, bully, and sometimes gang up on other players, sending or posting negative or hurtful messages and using the game as a tool for harassment. If someone is not performing well, other children may curse or make negative remarks that turn into bullying, or they might exclude the person from playing.
There are things adults can do to prevent cyberbullying of children who are gaming:
Most households have an internet connection and it may feel like you’re inviting predators into your home. We at Rode Investigations understand that parents may not have the time to supervise every single activity your child participates in online, that is why we offer Video Game Monitoring. We have several different options for LIVE monitoring as well as many packages to choose from
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