Sooner or later, if your kids are playing video games (online, tablet, iPxxxx, game consoles), he/she is going to want to invite or join a team to play with other gamers. What do you say? Besides knowing whether the game is age appropriate, here are a sample dialogue to help you explore with your child whether she/he is ready:
Kid A, “Dad, I’m going to put out a notice on Clash of Clans (or whatever game) for people to join my league!”
Dad, ” how do you do that? and how would people know”
Kid A, “You just do……”
Dad, “How Fun! what kind of information do you have to share with your team mate?”
Kid A, “ugh,… i don’t know, probably just how much ammos I have? and my username?”
Dad, ” What kind of information should you never share with online friends?”
Kid A, “ugh… my name, where I live, where I go to school….etc”
Dad (Think about whether the answer is complete and get a better picture)
Dad, ” why wouldn’t you share information with your online friend?”
Kid A, “ugh … I don’t know.. ”
Now is good time to discuss privacy: persona identifiable information, pictures of self/friend/family/school, location, age/birthday/passwords, real name and other identifiable details (like name of best friends, phone number, or Facebook/IG..etc account)
Now is also a good time to talk about potential mean people or bad people.
Dad, “how would you answer if your online friend ask when’s your birthday or how old is your brother?”
You can judge whether your child has the maturity to handle online friends by how your conversation goes.
Here’s a link to a good resource for Online Safety for Kids