The Goods on Gaming
Gaming can offer kids a sense of escape, which became even more attractive through the pandemic. Games encourage creativity with building, problem solving through strategic movement and teamwork by way of shared experiences with their friends online. These are all wonderful outcomes. But anytime your child is connected to the internet with these games, they are exposed to potential dangers. These dangers include cyberbullying, online solicitation and grooming by child predators.
How to Play Safe and Have Fun
Take time and learn how the game works! We suggest playing with them or doing research on reported dangers. If you are allowing your child to play, it is important to know how the games work, where the chats come from and who has access to them.
The three most important things to consider when keeping your child safe on any platform are:
- Activity Monitoring
- Setting App and Game Limits
- Restricting Content
Listed below are some of the most common games kids are playing and the different ways to communicate. Each has their own type of communication. Most have text messaging, private messaging and some have voice chat depending on the platform (Switch, computer, Xbox, mobile).
Fortnite: Both voice chat and text chat can be used to contact your child while playing games.
Fortnite Parental Settings
- Launch Fortnite on your platform of choice.
- Open the menu in the upper right of the screen.
- Select ‘Parental Controls’.
- Confirm the email address linked to the account. If no email address is linked to the account you will be asked to link one.
- Set a unique six-digit PIN. This PIN will be required to change parental controls in the future, so make sure it is different from other PINs you use and easy to remember.
- Set the parental controls according to your preferences.
- Use the ‘Save’ button to save your selection.
Fortnite Party Settings
- You can control your party privacy from the Party Hub settings on your Fortnite application.
- Decide if your party is open for your friends and their friends to join, or lock the party so no one can join uninvited.
- To lock your party, tap the lock icon on the main Party Hub screen. You can also unlock your party by tapping on the same lock icon.
Among Us: Chat inside the game.
- Local private freeplay games
- Online self hosted invite-only games
- Online public games
“Quick Chat Only” – If you input your age as under 13yrs of age you are automatically assigned as a filtered player and can only select preassigned comments that are game friendly like “Where” or “RIP” or other related responses.
- This can be bypassed by changing the age of the player.
- Children can still see the chat from other players.
- Open Game App
- Select Settings
- Censor Chat “Toggle On” (can be changed without passcode)
Roblox: There are chat features inside of each of the servers depending on the game they are playing and there are also private messages within the Roblox profiles.
Roblox Parental Controls
Parents can limit or disable online chat capabilities, restrict access to a curated list of age-appropriate games and customize monthly spend restrictions and spend notification frequency in a secure way.
See visual here:
How to Disable Chat & Ability to Post on Group Walls
- Log into the account.
- Go to Account Settings page by clicking on the gear-icon located in the upper-right corner of the page followed by Settings.
- Click on the Privacy tab and under “Who can chat with me in app?” “Who can Message?” and “Who can chat with me?”, select No one.
- Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Save.
Note: Turning off chat for “in-app” will disable the Team Create option in Roblox Studio.
Minecraft: Both voice chat and text chat can be used depending on the different platform
the game is played on. Here are some of the safety settings to help reduce communication from potential predators.
Safety Settings for Minecraft:
- Launch Minecraft for the Xbox One.
- Head into a session.
- Press the pause button on your Xbox One controller.
- Go to “Options.”
- Head to “Multiplayer Settings.”
- Press “A” while highlighting the “Chat” option.
- Make sure it says “Hidden.”
- Load a game of Minecraft on your PS4.
- Press the Start button on the controller.
- Select “Multiplayer Settings.”
- Hover over “Chat: Shown.”
- Change it to “Chat: Hidden.”
- Exit the menu and continue playing.
iOS and Android
- Launch Minecraft on your mobile device.
- Head into a multiplayer world.
- Tap the Pause button.
- Select “Settings.”
- Choose “Accessibility.”
- Tap on “Chat: Shown.”
- When it says “Chat: Hidden,” you can tap “Done” and continue playing.
- Open Minecraft for the Nintendo Switch.
- Start a game.
- Press the Pause button on your preferred controller.
- Choose “Options” from the Pause menu.
- Select “Multiplayer Settings” to bring up a host of options.
- Press “A” when you’re highlighting “Chat: Shown.”
- When it says “Chat: Hidden,” save your settings, and you can go on playing Minecraft.
The best way to keep your kids safe playing online games is to learn the games yourself! Play the game with your kids. Do your homework. Use these safety settings to ensure predators cannot contact or chat with your child.
Beyond gaming, implement house rules that help you monitor online activity, and educate yourself on the signs of grooming so you can intervene early if something does happen.
With C.R.A.M., you’ll learn practical tips to keep your kids safe online, how to talk to kids about predators by age group, how to recognize the signs of grooming, what to do if a predator contacts your child, and you’ll get device settings and safety tips for popular online games. Download your free copy today!