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Online Gaming: What parents need to know

Online games are popular among children and teens, by using online gaming platform cyber criminals can target children and build relationship with them. Parents need to understand the different elements of online gaming, how they can be used by cyber criminals, what parents can do to support and protect their children.

The online gaming:

Video games have been things of past, now it is the era of online gaming. With the advent of new technologies, platform and tools, online games become very easy to develop and available to whole world. Online gaming became a very popular time pass for both children and adults across the world. Online games are interactive, multiplayer option with chat and voice features. Users can chat and talk and purchase while playing. For most of the children and adults the online game is a good time pass where they can make a group, share the ideas and becoming creative.

Gamers usually communicate within the game to coordinate game tactics and share their enjoyment. Depending on the game and its functionalities gamers can type messages or talk to one another through a headset. Some consoles also allow them to leave voice messages and chat when a game is not in play.

The risks

Playing online games can be exciting but it poses a great risk to children or adult. If players become careless and without knowing about the other person who can be in his team or in opposition and start interacting with him and share his information. The cyber criminals can pose himself as a player and starts a normal chat with the victim and wins his confidence by showing his gaming prowess and knowledge about the game.

Cyber criminals may also try to encourage a child to move from the game to a private messenger platform to have one-to-one conversation with them. Online gaming platform helps cyber criminals to quickly build a good relationship with the young victim. Once the confidence been built and a relationship established, cyber criminals make his next move by sharing some points or sacrificing his player to let the young victim win.

When criminal completely traps the victim and become assure his prey will not talk about him with anyone, he makes a next move. In his next move he tries to get some personal information, parents’ personal information, their location etc. Once criminal has enough information about the victim and have some secrets and photographs he may morph the photo with inappropriate one or threaten to share the secret with whole world, the young victim surrenders himself to the criminal and become a puppet of that cyber criminal.

Some games and apps allow users to make purchases. Gamers can buy tools that can be used in the game to give them an advantage such as weapons, coins or cheats.

Many children do not have access to money to make purchases in games, so it can be tempting to accept 'in game currency' to help them progress.

Criminals use gifts in gaming to encourage children to trust them. They may offer gifts asking for nothing in return, this can be part of the grooming process and can help to build a close relationship with a young person. Others may try to use gifts as 'leverage' to persuade young people to do something such as moving to a different online platform, going on webcam or taking a photo of themselves.

Tips to find out if your child is in any trouble:

  • Notice the change in your child behaviour, if you find any change instantly talk to him/her
  • Check if he becomes irritated or perturbed at certain time in a day or night
  • Check his reaction when you talk about online game
  • Ask him to play online game in-front of you, if he denies means there is something wrong
  • Ask the name of online game buddies and foes, inquire a bit about every name

 

Top tips for gaming:

  • Explore parental controls on games consoles. Most games consoles enable parents to apply settings that can help to manage a child’s online activities.
  • Get to grips with the blocking and reporting functions on the games your child plays, and ensure they know how to use these. It’s helpful to sit with your child and go through this together.
  • Continue to have conversations with your child about gaming and their online activity. Reassure your child that they can always talk to you about anything that makes them feel uncomfortable- whether it’s the game content or something they’ve heard when chatting with other users.
  • Learn more about gaming and the age ratings.
  • Bullying is never okay. If your child is experiencing name calling or harassment while gaming you must ask him to stop playing that game or report to your local cyber crime unit or write to us at info@weseso.org

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