Multiplayer Games

Multiplayer Games Online: How to Help Keep Kids Safe

If your child hasn’t begged you to let them play at least one online multiplayer game yet, chances are they will soon! Unless you have been living under a rock, you must have heard of multiplayer online games such as Fortnight, Roblox, and Minecraft. While these games are highly engaging, fun and seemingly innocuous, they expose your child to a world of scammers, sexual predators, bullies, and hackers! Unsupervised interactions with anonymous online gamers can put your child at risk of cyber bullying, identity theft, and harassment, while exposing you to financial scams and viruses! Here’s what you can do to keep your kids safe while playing online!

Analyze or Disable Voice and Chat

Online Multiplayer games can expose your kids to toxic environments, including trash talking, foul language, sexually suggestive behaviors, harassment and cyberbullying, especially since your kids could be playing with anyone (old, young, kind or malicious), with no way of knowing who is on the other side of an avatar or screen name.

A predator may ask your child to send them an inappropriate photo, ask questions that seem off topic to the game, coax personal information out of them, or even entice them to a private chat room. While not all MMO games offer live voice chatting, players can still communicate through the game console’s built-in chatting system. Many multi-player games such as Roblox and Fortnite allow parents to restrict instant messaging and chatting. But for other MMOs, a prudent move is to disable voice chat altogether and manage communication in the parental controls on the game console or device. Have a talk with your child and get them to understand why it’s important to have voice off, since you are bound to meet some level of resistance if their friends are all playing with the voice activated.

You can also ensure the safety of your children from a distance by analyzing your child’s in-game communication through software that runs in the background. As soon as the software discovers instances of toxic behavior or a privacy violation, you will be alerted instantly. Not only do these tools report every threat your child may be exposed to, they also provide recommendations on how to handle the threat.

Teach Them About Reporting Players

When you join an MMO game, there is no telling who is behind those aliases and avatars. Your child could still encounter uncomfortable situations, such as crass language, bullying threat, or an inappropriate request, no matter how proactively you try to protect them. Since you can’t watch their backs all the time, it is important that you teach them ways to report, block and mute players who are making them uncomfortable. For instance, Minecraft gives you the option to mute or block other players. Some games even have a “Report Player” feature where you can block inappropriate players or even alert the game developers about the perpetrators.  Kids can directly report players on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and Steam, as well as third-party chat app that hosts the communication, such as Discord. Show your child how to take screenshots of any inappropriate interaction, as well as keep a record of identifiers, to report the perpetrator to the concerned authorities.

Limit The Personal Information Your Kids Share

Kids can inadvertently share personal details with online gamers, especially when they use their actual names or some other identifying data in their gamertags, such as date of birth or place of origin. This puts them at an increased risk of identity theft, fraud, hacking and even harassment. Make sure your kids don’t give sensitive information away to online players and play anonymously. Help your kids choose a gamertag that is fun and unique without divulging anything about themselves.  Secondly, it is not advisable to use the same gamertag across different platforms and social media sites, since a stalker can eventually identify the player behind the name and uncover real-life information about them. Last but not the least, educate your children about the perils of using each other’s real names when playing an online multi-player game with their friends. Any stranger who joins the game can overhear their conversation.

Get alerted to direct messages Sent to your Kids

Some gaming platforms immediately alert parents to every DM their kid receives from online gamers. This allows parents to keep a close eye on every interaction their child has online and to intervene if things go south. However, parents can’t keep tabs on the interactions outside these gaming platforms.  It is better to set up account notifications across all of the places where kids could potentially chat with strangers. For instance, you can download the Discord mobile app and enable push notifications to be alerted to DMs your child receives. While Steam doesn’t send direct message notifications to users outside the platform, you can still install the mobile app, log in with your child’s account and be alerted to DMs. Similarly, you can set account restrictions for kids on the Roblox app, and even block in-app messaging altogether.

Trigger Sidebar Cart0
Your cart is empty. Go to Shop