LURED: ONLINE GAMING

Outside of my full-time job, I speak to parents about keeping their kids safe online. Not too long ago I spoke at a local Catholic school. Based on the number of parents that came up to me after the presentation, a certain topic hit home. Many of the parents did not think about online gaming dangers until I brought it up in my presentation.

Crooks, thieves, and predators typically always go after the low hanging fruit (the easier target). A predator will patiently befriend\groom a child until the child feels very relaxed and comfortable with them. A quicker way to get a child to let his or her guard down is when playing online video games. When playing a game, the person on the other end does not seem like a stranger (bad guy) because:

  • Everyone is having fun.

  • The unknown person on the other end is not seen as a possible predator, but as a competitor, a new friend.

  • During gameplay, the predator may ease into conversations about inappropriate topics such as drugs, alcohol, sex, where your child goes to school, home address or phone number.

  • Again, your child is having fun and the person on the other end seems nice, cool and your child may give up information he or she normally would not.

What can you do as a parent?

  • Talk to your child early and often about all possible online dangers, including gaming.

  • Stop talking and listen to your child.

  • Let your child know they should never give out personal information to people they don’t really know.

  • Reiterate with your child that they should never meet in person someone they only know online.

  • Know the websites, games, and apps your child uses.

  • Know their passwords.

  • Check their devices. Some parents say their kids deserve privacy. You as a parent must weigh the pros and cons of privacy.

Use parental control software. My current favorite is Qustodio.

www.qustodio.com

Be aware what is going on with children today. A good website to visit often is Common Sense Media.

www.commonsensemedia.org

Recently a 11-year-old girl met in person a 24-year old man she met while gaming online.  Click on the link below.

http://www.fox32chicago.com/news/crime/hoffman-estates-man-accused-of-luring-11-year-old-girl-over-online-game

 

Stay Safe,

 

John

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