Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Smart Safety: Safety with Online Gaming

Kidas, a leading technology solutions company specializing in anti-cyberbullying and predator protection software for online gaming platforms, has joined forces with the renowned authority in family-friendly gaming content, the Family Gaming Database. Together, they have launched the industry's first personalized, custom gaming recommendations system for kids based on their previous gaming habits.

Using a combination of AI-based algorithms and curated recommendations developed by human experts, Kidas and the Family Gaming Database offer parents thousands of the most popular games that align with their child's age, values and interests. The recommendations go beyond similarity to encompass factors such as reduced violence, family-friendliness, absence of in-game purchases or chat functions, shorter and easier gameplay and more.

I had a chance to learn more in these interviews.

Ron Kerbs, Founder and CEO of Kidas

Why is it important for families to be aware of cyberbullying on gaming platforms?
Families must be vigilant about cyberbullying on gaming platforms because it directly impacts children's emotional well-being and mental health and could potentially expose kids to more serious threats and dangers. Data shows that over 50 percent of children who play video games (including 19 million in the U.S. alone) have encountered cyberbullying or online predators. These toxic interactions largely occur without parental knowledge, forcing kids to navigate the digital world on their own and could lead to feelings of isolation, anxiety, and even depression, affecting academic performance and social interactions.

What strategies can adults share with kids to help keep them safe? 
Adults can share the following strategies with kids to help keep them safe on gaming platforms:
  • Open communication: Encourage kids to openly discuss their gaming experiences by creating a safe and non-judgmental environment where kids feel comfortable sharing any concerns or negative encounters they encounter while gaming.
  • Setting Boundaries: Establish clear rules and guidelines for gaming, including appropriate time limits and age-appropriate game selections.
  • Privacy settings: Teach children about privacy settings and guide them in setting appropriate privacy controls on their gaming accounts. This can help limit the exposure to potential cyberbullies and protect personal information.
  • Reporting and blocking: Instill self-confidence in kids to stand up against cyberbullying and encourage them to support their peers who may be facing similar challenges. Familiarize them with the reporting mechanisms provided by the gaming platforms they use, so they know how to take action against cyberbullies.
  • Online etiquette: Teach kids about the importance of treating others with respect and kindness while gaming. Encourage them to be mindful of their own behavior and to report any instances of cyberbullying they witness.
How do tools like Kidas help?
  • Kidas offers invaluable tools to promote online safety and combat cyberbullying effectively: 
  • Anti-Cyberbullying Software: Kidas' innovative ProtectMe software actively monitors in-game conversations to identify potential cyberbullying incidents and alerts parents promptly. This ensures parents stay informed about any harmful encounters, enabling them to take swift action to protect their children.
  • Predator Protection: The ProtectMe software also identifies dangerous encounters with other players and strangers online, helping parents proactively safeguard their kids from potential predatory threats.
  • Gaming Reports: With weekly gaming reports, parents gain a comprehensive understanding of their children's gaming habits, enabling them to balance screen time and maintain a healthy gaming lifestyle.
  • Empowerment through Insights: Kidas equips parents, guardians and educators with essential insights into their children's gaming experiences, empowering them to engage in meaningful conversations and provide necessary guidance.

Attributed to Andy Robertson, creator of the Family Gaming Database

Why was the Family Gaming Database created?
It was created to help parents have a well-researched, reliable and free resource to find out about the games their children played. We now see over 1 million parents visit each month, both to discover what to watch out for but also to find great games to play.
How does the database evaluate games?
We look at games and check the following areas:
i. Age rating: What are the official ratings and what age is the content appropriate for?
ii. Skill: How old does a child need to be to enjoy this game?
iii. Costs: Are there any hidden costs or loot boxes or in-game purchases?
iv. Online Play: Do you play with strangers online?

What are some good qualities families should look for in games?
Games can be a great way to enjoy time together. The best of these can be played co-operatively by the whole family. There are also games that teach you about wildlife and how to identify plants and birds.

These are the sorts of games parents are drawn to and want their children to play:

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