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Parent Guide to Online Videogame Consoles

posted Dec 4, 2014, 5:54 AM by Craig Cox   [ updated Dec 4, 2014, 8:31 AM ]
Content provided by Domingo Lopez
Wilmington ISY program

Educating Parents about Online Videogame Console Etiquette and Security

Domingo Lopez

Delaware Technical and Community College

Ethics & the Information Age

Many children are gaming online but few understand how much information they should release and how it could affect them. Most parents understand less than their children on this topic because they are confused by the new technology or do not play video games themselves and have only their children to rely on for information. This paper will educate parents about privacy and family settings on their console, how to protect their account and personal information and how to properly handle online transactions. Parents should then discuss this information with their children and get involved by becoming familiar with their home console and actively keeping their children safe while gaming online.

Privacy and Family Settings

The first step to keeping your child safe while online gaming is to check the privacy and family settings on your console. These settings can be modified for each user allowing for both adult and children’s accounts. You can restrict access to content based on ratings for movies, television, music, apps, and ESRB ratings for games. There are also options for web filtering since most major consoles now come equipped with a web browser. Some consoles even allow you to hide content from app stores so your child will never see it as an option in the first place.

Online Transactions

When purchasing any content online there are a few important guidelines you should follow. The first thing to consider is your payment options. You can choose to add your credit card information to your console and every purchase made will ask if you want to use your that card. This is the easiest option and also the most prone to issues. This option could allow your child to purchase content on your card without your knowledge if his/her parental settings aren’t managed correctly. It is also important to note that major video game companies have been the focus of various online attacks and both Sony and Microsoft’s security have been compromised recently with account and credit card information being accessed. Another option would be to never tie a credit card to your account and instead go to a retailer and purchase online currency in the form of a code. This will avoid a child buying content without approval and if you pay in cash your credit card information is protected as well.

Online Etiquette

Almost every major console puts an emphasis on playing with friends online. If you don’t have any friends then they offer easy ways to meet people in the game you are playing and you can then later add them to your friends list. While this may seem like a harmless form of social interaction, it can be dangerous. If your personal information is on your public profile, or if your child doesn’t understand what information should be withheld over voice chat and what information is safe to talk about, many problems could arise ranging from harassment to full on identity theft. Most major video game companies have a web page dedicated to a code of conduct featuring anything from a loose list of Do’s and Don’ts to a full breakdown of what behavior is expected of you when using that companies console. Reading these guidelines and communicating them to your children is an important part in ensuring their safety.

Keeping the children Safe

The most important step to protecting your children and keeping your information safe on online video game consoles is to get involved. Educate yourself about your home gaming console and its proper use and functionality. Understand the terms and conditions applied to online transactions. If you don’t fully understand the safety features, settings and online etiquette expected of anyone playing online, you cannot expect your children to understand either.

References

(2014, January). Xbox Live Code of Conduct. Retrieved from http://www.xbox.com/en-US//Legal/codeofconduct

(2014). Community Code of Conduct. Retrieved from http://faq.en.playstation.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7042/~/community-code-of-conduct


Editorial note:  Google sites automatically credits the posting account.  Content for this post was entirely supplied by Domingo Lopez.  Some formatting was altered for web presentation.