How To let Kids have a Fun Time Playing Online Games Sans Any Security Concerns

 As weekends approach; like every kid, my son too gets excited about playing his most favourite games. I expect this since he loves playing video games and online games, without any interruption.

Now that doesn’t mean I approve of kids remaining glued to the TV or monitor for hours on end without any kind of physical exercise. I encourage a judicious mix of both to make the vacations worthwhile. What’s more, the husband looks forward to return home early to engage in a good bout of gaming with the son while daughter and I roll our eyes, shake our head and say “Boys!” with a long sigh and curl down on the sofa to watch a rom-com.

But here’s letting you on a secret – I enjoy playing games too. Yes, I really do. Just love the adrenalin rush and sense of competition! I also enjoy the way my son tutors me while we play and I love watching him as he drools over the graphics, sound, story board and controls. So when I can snatch a few moments, I turn on the monitor and invite him to play with me. Great bonding time! Sometimes, daughter joins us and the three of us laugh, shout, and fight, and time just flies by.

Here’s a checklist to keep my kids safe from the virtual threats of gaming:

  1. McAfee Total Protection (with family protection included) installed and updated
  2. Monitor/TV strategically placed in the drawing room, with the screen visible from other parts of the room
  3. A selection of video games rented/bought (pre-approved by kids) whose ESRB ratings conform to my kids’ age
  4. Look up the net to gather the latest info on the games children play online and probable threats
  5. Check the parental controls on the PC/XBOX and customise settings

In addition, we have some strictly-to-be followed rules for Internet usage that I take care to repeat without fail, as often as I find it necessary. They include:

 i.    You have to play within the hours fixed for you. Exceeding your time will earn you penalty

ii.    You should not indulge in chatting with strangers while playing online games

iii.   You must never share information like name, age, gender or address while gaming

iv.   You  must not  play games that have not been pre-approved by parents

v.    If you want to play online games with strangers, inform us first and do so only after we have checked and approved

vi.   Under no circumstances are you to use our credit or debit cards to buy apps /games

vii.  If a gamer wants to meet you outside, bothers you with inappropriate questions or language, inform us IMMEDIATELY. Don’t leave it for later

It also helps, if parents and kids together take this McAfee online Safety Quiz. You would be able to check your awareness of online threats and be assured that kids will play safely. Do reiterate that the internet is a privilege given to them. So it’s their duty to use it correctly and responsibly.

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Stop Cyberbullying – How to Stop Bullying Over Video Posts

In my last post, I shared the story of a teen who was bullied online-over a video of his imitating a Jedi warrior. It was done in a good spirit but someone posted the video online and it drew nasty comments from several people. The child was a victim of cyber bullying and it left its mark on him.

Let’s discuss what precautionary steps we can take to ensure that our children do not become victims of online bullying. There can be two aspects in regards to video posts:

  • Videos posted by others
  • Videos posted by self

Videos posted by others:

If someone posts a video of your child with malicious intent, or, for fun firstly, you should request the uploader to take it down. If he doesn’t comply, then flag and report it as abuse. Then block the user.

Google has wonderful tips on handling bullies on You-tube.

Here’s how you can block someone on YouTube

  1. Visit their Channel page, which should have a URL similar to http://www.youtube.com/user/NAME
  2. On their “Feed” or “Featured” tab, click the ‘by name’ drop-down menu
  3. Click ‘Block User’
  4. If the person you’re trying to block is one of your contacts, select the checkbox next to their name and click the ‘Block’ button. However, If they’re not in your Contacts, you can add them as a contact by clicking the ‘Add New’ button.

Videos Posted By You:

If you plan to upload a cute video of your 4-year old singing in the bathroom or playing at being a model? Since you’ll be the owner of the video, you would have the right to set privacy and comment options. These security options should be used and you can teach your kids to do so too if they are in the habit of uploading their music videos.

Here’s what you can do to prevent online bullying:

  • Disable comments through Video Manager
  • If you prefer reviewing comments and videos before they’re posted, set the preferred options through the Video Manager
  • Learn how to use the channels Help & Safety tools and teach your child too.

Some common Cyber etiquette:

  • Don’t encourage  unknown users  by sharing or ‘liking’ their comments
  • Feeding a troll on Twitter doesn’t always help. It may lead to an ugly, emotionally-exhaustive spat
  • Don’t shoot photos/videos of people without their consent and upload the same
  • Don’t create false IDs to spread malice about people
  • Stay away from online spats. We need to keep the cyber world clean for everyone.

As always, educating your child before allowing him to surf alone helps. McAfee offers lots of resources. Use them to keep your child cyber aware and cyber safe.

Happy surfing!

You may want to check this site for further info:

http://support.google.com/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=178909