What every parent should know about kids and the danger of gaming consoles

What every parent should know about kids and the danger of gaming consoles

On Friday, the world was shocked to witness massive terror attack in Paris, France where terrorists massacred innocent civilians in what some are calling serious intelligence failure and the question is being asked “How could the Intelligence Services not pick up on any chatter to do with this attack ?”

According to Forbes , Belgian federal home affairs minister Jan Jambon said outright that the PS4 is used by ISIS agents to communicate, and was selected due to the fact that it’s notoriously hard to monitor. “PlayStation 4 is even more difficult to keep track of than WhatsApp,” he said.

So why Gaming Consoles ?

What every parent should know about kids and the danger of gaming consolesWithin the gaming consoles there are several features that allow gamers to interact with each other. Gamers can send text messages to each other and can wear a head-set to chat communicate with fellow gaming partners. These features allow for games to be more interactive and social as real-people play in a virtual world.

The problem that Intelligence Agencies face is that it is notoriously difficult to build a profile of gamers. Gamers could install “war-games”  such as Call of Duty and Fallout 4 and play Lego and Dance Machine all on the same profile. Whereas usually radical extremist pop-up on various networks such a messaging boards, forums, social media spewing their radical messages.

Non-Verbal Communication

Compounding the problem are the non verbal signs. In the past communication would take place in the real world. “Dead drop” would be used as a way to pass messages between people, marks would be left in plain sight as an indication. The terrorist have taken this online and into the gaming world.

As multiple people can play the same game at the same time (known as Multi player),  players gather at a location and are able to give each other non-verbal signs within the game. For example: if the operation is to be postponed, then one player could shoot a bullet at the Amber traffic light. If the operation was a go, then he would shoot at the Green light.

This would be extremely difficult to monitor.

Parents Beware

When it comes to our kids safety online parents usually lay down the law when it comes to Internet usage, Adult sites, Social Media and Mobile Phone usage (here are my 10 non-negotiable rules). However, few parents are aware of the Gaming Console.

Gaming consoles are in fact powerful computers with internet access and therefore safety rules should apply. At best, parents would monitor the violence level of a game to make sure it is age-appropriate. At worst, even this isn’t being monitored.

If you are new to gaming consoles and have a gaming console as home, check this out where everything is nicely outlined in this article.

In order to keep our kids safe when playing their gaming consoles, here are some tips from Staysafeonline.org:

  • Check the rating: Checking for a game’s Entertainment Rating Software Board’s rating – on game packages, online or in some mobile app storefronts – is a great place to start in terms of gauging its age-appropriateness. Many games rated by ESRB also have rating summaries that describe in detail exactly what type of content a parent would want to know about, along with specific examples. You can even access them from the store using ESRB’s free mobile app.
  • Protect personal information: Make sure your child’s user name does not give away their real name, location, gender, age, or any other personal information. (Examples: beach01, book2). Your kids should also use an avatar, not an actual picture of themselves.
  • Do your research: Make sure you read and understand the ratings for the games that your children are playing. Some game sites have multiple games with different ratings, so check all of them.

Setting the Parental Controls

Each of the gaming consoles has Parental controls built into the console where the parents can decide what is allowed and what is not.

 

Please share the info and lets protect ourselves and our kids:

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*headline image from Shutterstock.com

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