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Drinking Coffee

Time is now for parents to gain digital control

By Greg Mellen, Behind The Badge

The holiday season has passed and if you’re a parent and you or Santa left a video game or other electronic device under the tree, it might be time to revisit device safety guidelines.

There is no doubt that adults and kids alike love their devices. Whether digging through sandbox games, engaging in epic battles or becoming immersed in chat room discussions, there are countless opportunities to interact, compete, and create community.

The flip side, however, can be terrifying. Potential gaming addiction, financial scamming, and identity theft are dangers. There are also particular threats to minors, such as victimization through cyberbullying, and mental and sexual abuse. These are sobering reminders that for all the good, there exist shadows where evil lurks.

To combat online dangers, websites like SafeOC have released guidelines for parents which detail the risks of online gaming. With more than 6.8 billion people on smartphones, 4.3 million on social media, and 3 billion video gamers worldwide, the virtual world has become intertwined with our daily lives and appears to be here to stay. How we interact with and consume media and what we teach children can be the difference between experiencing its benefits and victimization.



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