Internet has made the world much bigger for someone who is sitting in the busiest metro city or furthest village in the corner of a district. It has also introduced children to that same big world, which also has online games. The Indian government has issued an advisory for parents in order to warn them of the dangers of children exploring the world of online gaming. Also Read - New South Park game coming soon, could be a co-op multiplayer title
The Ministry of Education claims that online gaming is gaining popularity with children because of the challenges it brings to the players which excite them, making them play more which can lead to addiction. Also Read - Best video games of 2021: Far Cry 6, Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, Resident Evil Village and much more
Online games can either be played on the internet itself or from another computer network. Considering that high-speed internet has become much more accessible on phones or tablets, children can easily play games anywhere anytime, affecting their time for their school and social life, according to the Education ministry. Furthermore, the closure of schools due to pandemic has increased use of mobile and internet by children. Also Read - Epic Games Holiday Sale now live: One free game each day of the sale
Serious gaming addiction has been considered as a gaming disorder. The game is designed in a way that each level is more complicated and complex than the previous one. This causes a player to push themselves to the limit in order to progress in the game.
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In order to help parents deal with the gaming addiction, the govt has a list of Do’s and Dont’s. Here’s how parents can make sure their children are not getting addicted to online gaming:
-Do not allow in-game purchases without parental consent. To avoid in app purchases; OTP based payment methods may be adopted as per RBI’s guidelines.
-Avoid credit/debit cards registration on apps for subscriptions. Place an upper limit on expenditure per transaction.
-Do not let children buy directly from the laptop or mobile they use for gaming.
-Advise children not to download software and games from unknown websites.
-Tell them to be beware of clicking links, images and pop-ups in the websites as they may contain a virus and -harm the computer, and may contain age-inappropriate content.
-Advise them not to give personal information over the Internet while downloading games.
-They should never share personal information with people in games and on gaming profile.
-Advise them not to communicate with strangers, including adults, through web cam, private messaging or online chat, as it increases the risk of contact from online abusers, or bullying from other players.
-Advise them against engaging in game for long hours without taking a break considering health aspects and addiction.
-While playing online games, if something wrong happened, stop immediately and take a screenshot (using the “print screen” button on the keyboard) and report it.
-Help your child to protect their privacy online, get them to use a screen name (avatar) that does not reveal their real name.
-Use antivirus/spyware programs and configure web browsers securely using firewall.
-Activate parental controls and safety features on the device or in the app or browser as it helps restrict access to certain content and limit spending on in-game purchases.
-Notify if a stranger tries to start a conversation about something inappropriate or requests personal information.
-Check the age rating of any games your child is playing.
-In case of a bullying, encourage not to respond and keep a record of the harassing messages and report the behaviour to the game site administrator/block, mute or ‘unfriend’ that person from their players list, or turn off the in-game chat function.
-Play alongside your child to get a better sense of how they are handling their personal information and who they are communicating with.
-Help your child understand that some features in online games are used to encourage more play and spending. -Talk to them about gambling, what it is and its consequences both online and in the physical world.
-Always ensure that your child accesses internet from a computer placed in the family