Keeping kids safe while online gaming

Keeping kids safe while online gaming

Keeping kids safe while online gaming

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12 News) —

Jon Moffat, the founder of Cyber Education Consulting, said to help keep your child safe while playing games online – parents should first level the playing field. Moffat learned from his own son that characterizing online games and trivial ones are not helpful. “He goes – Mama watches a show where people buy houses, and you watch a show where people bounce a ball and put it in a hoop. You know, you could bounce a ball, too, dad. So, the reality is, we’re all wasting time,” Moffat said.

That acknowledgment can lead to real talk, as a family, about the potential dangers of online gaming.

Jon said it’s important that parents make sure their kids don’t have the exact same gamer tag or user name if they play multiple games online. He stressed that each has to be different, even if it’s only by one letter or number. If not, Moffat said it can be easier for any bad actors to link together multiple gaming accounts and possibly get to the family’s personal or financial information, especially if there is a credit card linked to any of the games.

Moffat said to keep the “about me” sections minimal. “Removing as much of that information as possible, so that if someone was playing a game and all of a sudden they got mad at you, you’re not one google search away from finding out where that person goes to school,” he said.

Parents should get familiar with popular online games, like Roblox. It exploded in popularity during the pandemic, as families strived to stay connected with friends and family through virtual experiences. In Roblox, users can design and build all sorts of games to play with others. “When we were in quarantine, that was beautiful, but making sure the people they’re connecting with during quarantine are people you actually know,” Moffat said. Roblox is designed for kids under the age of 13. Moffat said parents should scrub through their kids’ list of friends on Roblox and delete anyone the family doesn’t actually know, no exceptions.

Minecraft is another online game Moffat said parents should get familiar with. He described the experience as “virtual Legos,” where users have unlimited options to create virtual worlds. Parents can search for “family-friendly Minecraft servers” to steer their kids towards safer options within this game. Moffat said parents should make a point to occasionally walk through the room when their child is playing this game. “The thing to look for with Minecraft is what types of servers are they joining. Is there a chat feature? Are they interacting in the chat? What are the people in the chat talking about?” Moffat said to listen for any dialog about personal information, like your child’s name or location.

With the extremely popular game Fortnite, Moffat said to encourage kids to set up “private parties” so they’re only playing with people they actually know and not friends of friends or complete strangers. Here’s how:

-In the lobby, select the game mode you wish to play

-In settings, make sure you’re in the same server region as your participants.

-Click custom options.

-Create a custom matchmaking key that you want to give to your participants.

-Choose to accept.

“Today, the most important thing when it comes to Fortnite is doing they know how to block and mute somebody, do they know how to take their power back,” Moffat said. “If the world worked like this and we were just able to block and mute people we didn’t agree with, marriages would last longer, businesses would last longer, everything would be great, but we can’t, but in the digital space, we can.”

How to block a user on Fortnite:

-Navigate to the social tab.

-Find the player you’d like to block.

-Select that player to display a small menu.

-Choose the “block” option.

-Confirm that you want to block that player.

There are estimates that one in five gamers will fall victim to a scam.

Link to study with that estimate – https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/gaming-fraud-spam/

To help build a better wall of security around your family’s personal information that might be tied to online gaming, Moffat said to follow these steps immediately:

-Google searches each gamer tag and looks for red flags, like personal or financial information, that come back.

-Do not use the same password for multiple accounts.

-Do not display gamer tags with public social media sites.

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