Tips for Safe Online Gaming Part 2

Posted on May 29, 2014

….cont’d from Tips for Safe Online Gaming Part 1

5. Build awareness of privacy settings and parental controls

Application developers are well aware of the need for boundaries in the online environment, and many consoles, apps and games have privacy settings and parental controls (for example, see how it works on Xobox 360). Many games allow parents to reduce higher-impact content such as gore or violent animations, while privacy settings on Facebook (for example) allow a rich means of building boundaries around what content is shared with whom. It is important for not only parents, but children as well, to be aware of the importance of privacy settings both for whole accounts and individual content, and to manage this appropriately.

privacy-settings-game-truck-australia

An example of privacy settings for Xbox

 6. Never give information on request

As well as building an online persona in the profile, gamers and online citizens must also be wary of giving away personal information on request. Although such requests may be innocuous, if you don’t know the real identity of the person you are conversing with, you may not know their real intentions, so it is better to retain a sense of distance in online-only relationships. Having an alias or avatar can help with this, and making a humorous or fun avatar can increase appeal for younger gamers.

 7. Encourage self-comparisons of gaming skill

One of the main causes of griefing and trauma in online gaming is constant comparisons with the performance of other players, which is pretty unrealistic. As in other activities, it is healthy to encourage children to focus on their own improvement through self-comparison of performance. Why compare your kill-death ratio with millions of people across the world when you can easily track your own performance and focus on self-improvement? This encourages reflective, independent learning through gaming.

 8. Allow failure to build resilience

Let’s face it: many video games are very challenging, especially in multiplayer modes. The fact that gamers step up to this challenge is great, but of course there is always the danger of failing, or losing a competition either against yourself or another player. See this as an opportunity rather than a threat: it’s a way of exploring our own responses to adversity, and an opportunity to practise picking oneself up and trying again through learning. This kind of resilience will serve gamers well throughout their lives as they face the myriad of challenges that normal everyday life throws up.

Insert coin; try again

Insert coin; try again

So, as per usual, it’s about boundaries, distance, and building the capacity for mature online interactions. Stay tuned for the final instalment!


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