Parents guide to Online Gaming

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From sports games to mission-based games and adventures that inspire players to overcome challenges, you name it, there is a game for every taste or age and there is no doubt that children have become more absorbed by screens than ever before.

It’s evident that physical games have become less popular and neglected in the last couple of years. Some blame on parenthood whilst others blame on technology, however,  when it comes trying to discern what could really be that  game or website that is getting our kids plugged into it, we will soon realize that Gaming itself is not the reason behind it but it’s also the technological advances that have been transforming the way that our kids play Games and are getting them more immersed in them and disassociated from reality.

The Internet and Gaming

Parents Guide to GamingIn the last decades, Gaming has become more increasingly popular and more globally connective thanks to the Internet. For example, a player in China can challenge another player in Chile (South America) in real time and it would not be just about playing together, both could also share images, text and talk to each other as they were in a video or call conference. On the other hand, online groups and gaming networks have been created for players who want to research more about the latest tricks, oddities and relevant information about their preferences and Social Media sites like Facebook.

Ways to play

There are many forms for users to play games online, among those options are games that can be found on the Internet through PCs, tablets, mobile phones, portable consoles or even handheld consoles.

Consoles

Gaming, Xbox, Joystick

The most common and popular gadgets that the majority of gamers use are Game Consoles such as Xbox, Wii PlayStation, and Nintendo. These consoles can be easily connected to the Internet and users can make direct purchases related to games such as games updates, new characters or new features that will allow players to reach new levels and new entertainment experiences. CDs are normally sold for these types of consoles, however, they are becoming less irrelevant every year for apparent and obvious reasons.

Phones and Tablets

Games on these devices depend mostly on the Internet to be played, however, they can also be transferred through USB memories. To download the games, players will need to go to sources where games are stored. These sources are Websites or Apps that can offer free downloads or in some cases will require users to pay between $1 and $10 per game and these can normally be found on Google Play Store, iTunes Store, and Nokia Store.

Web games

These type of games are Internet-based games only and they can only be accessed through Websites. There are millions of Websites that offer free access and some are sold through subscriptions. In this category, gamers can become the creators of their own games too as there are exclusive Websites and Apps that work as a platform for people who want to design their own games and distribute them among other platforms.

PC Games

These games will need a computer with a hardware and software that allow players to have to interact using a keyboard, headphones, a microphone, and a camera.  Many PC games require Internet connection but they can also be stored on CDs or downloaded via online.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

It’s a combination of technology and optical illusion that generates a great impact on players minds when it comes to having a more immersive experience with realistic images and better sound.

Augmented reality uses any type of space in which characters can appear and be seen through screens. Pokemon is a clear sample of this kind.

Virtual Reality uses special equipment such as Virtual Reality glasses (VR) that players need to wear the moment they play in order to have images shown in front of two lenses; in addition to it, audio is also played to make the game more fun and real.

Online Gaming – Implications and risks

Online Safety is an issue that parents must consider when they let their kids play online. Potentially, every console, PC or phone could serve as an open door for online strangers, hackers, viruses, and predators who will try to take advantage of security flaws and therefore vulnerable people.  To prevent this from happening, there are certain things that players must avoid when playing Internet-connected games.

Players should avoid:

  • Connecting with strangers through chats, groups or forums.
    Visiting unknown
  • Websites that offer free material that could be potentially harmful. When comparing consoles with phones or tablets games,  the last ones can be reasonable cheaper but not as regulated as they should be. Anyone from any part of the globe can anonymously upload their games online.
  • Clicking and opening doubtful links and downloading unverified software.
  • Install harmful content through external sources like CDs, USBs or contaminated devices.

Things that parents should do:

  • Supervise your children when playing games online, especially at night time.
  • Check if the game to purchase contains the appropriate PEGI age rating label according to the age of the child.
  • Install an antivirus on your PC and avoid visiting doubtful Websites.
  • According to the  Huffington Post,  a recent study made by Oxford University reveals that children who play consoles or PC games for an hour or less per day tend to be more social and satisfied with life than kids who don’t play any video games at all. Then spending time with them will make a bigger difference rather than trying to avoid other issues to happen.
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