If you have children, chances are you also have some sort of gaming console. And just about every console type has the ability to get online with a connection from any of the available internet service providers. Having an internet connection through your gaming console means that you can connect to any gamer in the world and play games or converse in real-time.
But how safe is the internet connection through a gaming console? Looking at recent news, hackers have been able to exploit weaknesses in a console’s security to obtain the passwords, email addresses, names, phone numbers and birth dates of subscribers. In addition, credit card databases have also been accessed by and exposed to hackers.
Because the operating system of any gaming console is proprietary, common antivirus programs cannot be installed on them, and nor can firewalls. As well, many consoles allow gamers to browse the internet while they play. And like the antivirus programs, the parental filters or browser tracking tools you may have on your computer will not be present if your child uses the gaming console to surf the internet.
Another constant threat is that of sexual predators. An important thing to be buy spin 88 aware of when your child is gaming online is whether or not there is a game feature which allows a player to alter the sound of their voice. Many predators will use features like this to make themselves sound younger, making it easier for them to lure potential child victims into a conversation.
Thankfully, many gaming consoles now have their own set of parental controls. And the console web browsers can be disabled without disabling the connections to other online players. You can also check the ESRB ratings of games to ensure that the ones your children are playing are age-appropriate.
As useful as parental controls can be, the best form of parental control is the parent themselves. Setting rules about gaming with your children is a good first step. Discuss time limits and appropriate times of day for online gaming, and then post these rules somewhere where your child can easily see them and be reminded. Ensure the console is located in a ‘community’ area of the home, such as the living room.
Communicate the importance of never volunteering personal information such as their real name, gender or location. Suggest a gaming user name that doesn’t identify their gender. If they already have a user name, ensure that you know it. The same rules can be applied to the picture your child may use to represent themselves when they game online. Ensure that this image is not a real photograph or of a provocative nature.