Protecting your child in a digital world

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Parents are being warned that a video is circulating of a man committing suicide live on Facebook. This footage is being shared across social media sites, disguised as an unrelated video before cutting to the recording.

Many parents are implementing safety procedures across their child’s social media channels ­– but how many parents are taking the same precautions with their child’s online gaming devices?

Many online gaming and gambling sites provide chat functions which allow conversations between players – and, more importantly, allow for videos and links to other sites. Unfortunately, this function is becoming an issue as young people are being exposed to inappropriate content, unsafe people or are becoming susceptible to grooming or exploitation.

We’re familiar with having conversations with our children about online safety and discussing social media sites. But we also need to have these conversations about online gaming.

Here are some top tips for parents:

1) Check the privacy settings on your child’s gaming devices. Is their account private? Is their account set up to vet friend requests rather than allowing anyone to become a friend or contact them?

2) Does your child know all their contacts? Remember, we do not always know who is behind a screen, so it is a good idea to only allow for friends or people you know to be able to engage in conversation. If they can chat to other people, remind your child not to give out personal information.

3) Is your child’s gaming account linked to their social media account? This allows for any friend connections they have on social media to become friends on their gaming account. Again, if they have many contacts on social media as a friend, this means any one of those can contact them via the gaming chat rooms.

4) Talk to your child about accessing inappropriate content. Do they click on any link that is sent through to them? Do they check who has sent them the link or video? What should they do if they view inappropriate content? Do they know how to report inappropriate content on their device or block a user?

5) What do your children think counts as inappropriate content? Discussing boundaries is good to ensure you child knows what they should and should not be viewing, as well as not passing on inappropriate content to others.

 

6) Monitor your child’s conversations to be alert for key phrases indicating potential issues being discussed. Children will talk about videos or topics they have heard about to discuss it with others in both safe and unsafe manners. Being aware of these conversations, so you can potentially step in and discuss them with your child, can help to prevent your child viewing inappropriate content.

For more information and resources, you can visit the YGAM Parent Hub here: www.parents.ygam.org

YGAM is an independent charity informing, educating and safeguarding young people around online gaming and gambling related harms. YGAM parent hub provides information, support and activities around online gaming and gambling to support their families, build resilience and establish a healthy online/offline balance.

 

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