Internet Safety For Business, Home.
During COVID19, internet safety rules went out the window as parents and kids struggled to live, work and school together all day from home. Parents wanted quiet to work and kids wanted to be occupied without being allowed to see friends down the street. Naturally, the normal rules got stretched a little. Now we need a way back reducing kids time online permanently. Here's a true story about two boys from Leicester.
After lockdown, the boys stopped attending online schooling, playing their games instead, which is what you do when you are seven and nine. The parents assumed from what limited information they had about the game that Fortnite was looking after them keeping them safe. It is a game played by kids, therefore that was enough. The kids seemed happy, the parents were just happy they were occupied and not annoying them.
Two things happened, their behaviour, their language changed over the next two months, they were cursing frequently and acting aggressively towards their Mum especially. Things came to a head when the family dog chewed through a headphone lead which meant the parents heard the game and what was being said. When gaming, you can’t stop the text, but you can turn the sound off, which is strongly recommended by internet safety experts and child psychologists worldwide. Mum suddenly realised;
Fornite makes one of the best online games out there. Free to start with, Fortnite soon starts selling stuff (Vbucks), and to do that they need players playing all the time. So in a nutshell, Fortnite's job is to keep you or worse still your kids online, they employ the best game designers to make the most engaging coolest game ever. So caring for kids who make up nearly 65% of their audience and e-safety for kids is not part of hire job.
“Remember, if you don’t look after your kids, the internet, gaming business will, happily.”
Graham Mulhern “How To Protect Your Kids Online”
We became familiar with this story when we were interviewed on a local radio station with the Dad, Sean. It was Sean who decided on the hard stop plan which we said was the best plan and very brave of Sean, especially as he had two very upset kids on his hands. But he was 100% correct. Listen to a podcast version of this article.
Playing in public servers means your kid is playing with a huge of people (strangers) online, unprotected, many of whom are much older. This is not recommended by experts worldwide, especially from an online and internet safety perspective.
What Parental control can do for you here.
It will not control or moderate what they see while playing. Parental control will prevent them from becoming addicted though, which is what you want.
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Over a two-month period, they changed completely. they were obsessed no longer going outside to meet friends, they were morose, surly and crude, only enjoying each others company. She was especially upset in hearing more cursing than actual words, sometimes with extreme profanity, all common currency amongst older teenagers. Dad said later, the dog did them the biggest favour ever, chewing up the headphone cable. He presented the kids with one option, three hours a day only, playing with kids their age or nothing. On the upside, he discovered a new connection with them too as he loved Fortnite too.
Multi-player games with sound are notorious for rough language expletives, the games are built this way, to encourage vocal exchanges, that’s exactly what the developers want. So, turn off the sound, so your kid can’t hear it.
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Comments: Fortnite is not the problem, it is the players. Check pegi.info for details on any game you are not familiar with before letting kids start new games.
Remember, if you don’t look after your kids, the internet, gaming companies will, happily.
1. Why gamers really need VPN
2. Our No.1 most-read ever Internet safety tips for kids
3. Is it good for my kids? Fortnite - Explained
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