Rise in FIFA and Call of Duty online gaming leaves British parents feeling out of control

Parents-Video-games-Video-Games-Call-of-Duty-Parents-Feel-Out-of-Control-Video-games-Video-Games-Parents-out-of-Control-454816Nine in ten children now play video games like FIFA and Call of Duty against each other on the Internet, according to a study.

But half of parents are worried about their child’s safety online with many fearing they’ll be exposed to swear words, bullying behaviour and at worst grooming by abusers.

Get Safe Online, a public internet safety initiative, unearthed the findings.

And they’re highlighting their top safety tips ahead of the big six-week school break-up this week. According to a survey of 2,000 parents with children aged 5 – 18, nine in ten (91%) parents say their kids play games online.

While the majority of parents say they limit the amount of time their children spend online gaming, a third (34%) admit that their child plays at least once a day.

The most popular device to game on is tablets, with three in five (62%) parents stating their kids use these devices to play.

This was followed closely by mobile with 47% of children using their phones to play games. This mean’s a child’s online activity is often out of their view.

But safety is a big problem with a quarter of parents (25%) admitting their children who game have disclosed personal information while playing online against other players; a third (34%) have spoken to someone they don’t know; and more than a quarter (28%) have developed friendships within the online gaming community.And 16% of parents are aware online gaming has been used as a platform for their child to be bullied or verbally abused.

Tony Neate, of Get Safe Online said: “In most cases, online gaming is fun, social and harm-free.

“We need to be realistic that kids are naturally going to want to play games with their friends, but parents are right to be showing some concern about a world they are perhaps not familiar with themselves.

“The risks range from downloading a computer virus, to bullying and even being targeted by an older predator with more sinister motives.

“There are minimal restrictions when it comes to online gaming, meaning anyone with access to a gaming account from anywhere in the world can potentially make contact with other players using that game.”Parents need to be switched on and have an open and honest conversation with their children, making sure they are mature enough to game online in the first place, and are aware of the threats and right gaming practices from the off.

“Young people should be on their guard against random friend requests and make sure they don’t share any private information which could put them at risk.”

David Emm, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab added: “Although parents will frequently warn their children from an early age about ‘stranger danger’, this is generally directed at interactions in the physical world, with their key concern being that they don’t talk to strangers they encounter on the streets.

“But we now live in a connected world where strangers are commonly encountered online, so this kind of sound advice needs to be delivered in a digital context too.”

Source: Daily Star