Tips on safe use of social games
The merging of social networks and games is becoming increasingly widespread. The Austrian Awareness Centre has compiled these great tips for parents regarding the safe use of Social Games:
How can I support my children in the safe use of Social Games?
- Play together with your child! Social Games can be fun and relaxing for each age group and can develop important skills (e.g. time management, multi-tasking, etc.). Seek out interesting games according to the age of your child and explore them together. Recommended on Facebook are, for example: FarmTown, Farmville, Café World or Happy Aquarium.
- Let your children explain the games to you! Children are happy to be the expert in something as well.
- Make the commercial aspects of these games a topic. Many children have a problem distinguishing “real” from “virtual” money. Talk to your children about the commercial intentions of the game producers and state clear rules about buying virtual goods.
- Support your child to stand up to peer pressure. The mutual measurement and competition amongst friends is the central appeal of Social Gaming. Support your child to be able to deal with this peer pressure and to be able to say “NO”. Use real life analogies when you talk about this with your child (e.g. Pokemon cards, brand name clothing, eating ice cream, etc.).
- Establish rules for gaming. Children are rarely ever happy about new rules because they experience them as limits (at first). There isn’t any difference between computer and online games and any other parenting issues. Use your positive experience from other aspects of life to set up rules and make sure they are followed.
- Help your child to quit the game if he/she wants to. On Facebook, for example, each game can be blocked on a user’s profile, so that one is left alone from those notifications, gifts and invitations in the future. The option “block this application” can be found at Account-Application Settings.
- Show your children alternatives. Doing something together with your child (e.g. movies, excursion) is at least as much fun as using the computer!
www.saferinternet.at (Austrian website)
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