PSNI Ballymena have drawn attention to advice about Gaming and how to stay safe online. This guide from the Get Safe Online Website has highlighted some risk and addressed some actions which parents can take to look after their children as they play games with others online. Online gaming opens up players to a whole world of entertainment.

Ballymena Today - Stay safe when gaming online

The integration of the internet into modern games means that children and teenagers can log on and start playing against other gamers from anywhere in the world. This is great for gaming but can worry parents who don’t know who their children are talking to online.

Ballymena Today – Stay safe when gaming online

Gaming is great fun and should be kept that way, here is some advice which can help you to keep your children safe while they enjoy their computer games.

The risks
The risks arise largely from the vast number of people both in the UK and abroad who are also playing, the minimal restrictions involved and the fact that they are not face-to-face. Because of this, your child cannot be sure who they are playing against and chatting to … or what their motives are. Sadly, being taken advantage of by strangers with sexual, abusive, fraudulent or other criminal motives is becoming more commonplace. The risks are increased as more and more games are being played on mobile devices rather than the ‘family computer’, giving you less opportunity to check up on what your children are doing online.
Other risks include:
– Your child playing games with an inappropriate age rating.
– Your child running up bills on your credit card – if they have access to it.
– Spending hours at a time on online games to the exclusion of exercise, socialising and schoolwork.

Keep your child’s online gaming safe
– Have open and honest conversations with your children about their online gaming and the risks involved.
– Educate your children about the dangers of revealing private information such as their email address, home address, family members or financial details.
– Explain that not everybody is who they seem or claim to be, and their motives may be dishonourable.
– Tell your children not to respond to bullying or other abuse, and to report it to you straight away.
– Join your children in online gaming from time to time and randomly. This will give you an idea of the games they’re playing and who they connect with.
– Set and monitor limits for the amount of daily or weekly time your children spend online gaming.
– Check age ratings of games to ensure your children aren’t accessing inappropriate content. It’s 18 for a reason!
– Never give your child your payment card details as extras can be very costly.

Often children find technology and gaming is like second nature whereas parents sometimes need to take more time to understand how new consoles and games work. Staying safe online is an important topic to talk to your child about and hopefully these tips will help you child to stay safe when gaming online.