It’s summertime, which means your kids will have much more free time for the outdoors, swimming, and sunshine. The sun has so many benefits for our bodies, but if left unchecked it leads to burns (and anybody who’s been there knows it’s NO fun to have a cranky, sunburned child). These days, kids are spending more time in front of screens, playing games online, interacting with other kids via social networks, and watching videos on YouTube. In fact, recent studies have actually shown that people spend about 8 hours per day consuming media of some kind.
It’s easy for busy or tired parents to rely on Netflix and online games to entertain kids. However, just like sunscreen, which protects our kids while having fun in the sun, we need a preventive measure to help keep kids safe while online.
Here are a few questions parents should ask themselves:
- What games are their kids playing?
- Who are they playing them with?
- Can they communicate with strangers?
- If so, what kinds of things can they share?
- What kinds of things are they sharing?
There are online games and social networks available today that have built-in precautions in their interfaces. Animal Jam, an online social network and educational game for kids ages 6-12, does just this. In addition to regularly posting safety tips and advice for trading items and Gems (the virtual currency that kids earn by playing games), Animal Jam sets up many precautions that keep kids safe:
- Parental controls: Parents can monitor and manage their child’s player account from the Parent Dashboard giving direct insight into what their child is doing online.
- Chat filter: All in-game chat is run through Animal Jam’s state-of-the-art safety chat filter, which blocks inappropriate messages typed by players. Children are also blocked from sharing personal information, like their name, phone number or address.
- Reporting and blocking other players: Players have the option to block and report other players if they see any rude or inappropriate behaviors. This drastically reduces the chances of online bullying happening in the world.
- Moderation: A team of highly-trained moderators review all in-game reports and activities 24/7. This helps any real-time monitoring of the game and its players, ensuring that your kid gets the kind of supervision they need while playing the game.
These precautions not only help keep your kid from getting burned, but also let you have a worry-free afternoon while you’re busy running errands and you know your kids are at home using the computer. Check out Animal Jam and you’ll see how it’s a fun, friendly, and safe environment for kids to learn and interact with each other.