Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (known more commonly as MMORPGs or MMOs) have been around for almost a decade now. Many parents share mixed feelings about their children spending time in a virtual world. On one side of the argument is the problem of violence in video games. Studies have shown that increased violence and rewards for violent acts in games have lead of higher aggression in children and teens. On the other side of the argument is the peace of mind parents gain by knowing their children are safe at home, in front of their computer.
Examples of these games include:
- Club Penguin
- Regnum Online
- Wurm Online
- Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates
- A Tale in the Desert
But how safe are they? While their character may be battling against monsters, other characters and giant dragons; they are exposed to hoards of predators and the mixed bag of emotions that comes along with that exposure.
Gaming safety isn’t something commonly brought up when it comes to these multiplayer online games. While they are full of younger people screaming at each other, they can also be home to individuals with questionable motives.
In games like World of Warcraft, players enter communities called guilds. These guilds exist so members can team up and progress in the game together. As a result of this, relationships between players tend to become very close-knit and personal.
Younger gamers may be taking part in this phenomenon because they crave this sense of belonging. Because of that feeling, they are perfect targets for predators who want to cause harm to your child. They enact a process called “grooming,” which coaxes the child into a state of trust.
As a result of this state of trust, your child may be more willing to produce personal information such as address, cell phone number, school and even agree to an in-person meeting.
uknowkids.com may not be able to monitor online gaming yet, but it is an extremely useful tool to protect against these predators. It is common for predators that meet a child online to quickly move the conversation to texting, away from the eyes of online communities or other users. Parents can sign up for mobile phone monitoring as well as a feature that shows exactly where their child is at all times. As always, this feature should be used in addition to frequent discussion, communication and love to keep your children safe.