Parents may be shocked to find that more and more kids are becoming victims of threats while online gaming.
As the summer begins, more and more young children will be find themselves playing video games online. McAfee, an expert in cyber security, noted that while your son or daughter may be inside your home there is still the potential that your child is coming in contact with content ranging from violence, to sexual image or even drugs.
McAfee’s new study suggests that nearly two in three children are playing online games which exponentially increases the likelihood they will be exposed to cyber threats.
In Michigan there has been extra attention paid toward video gaming — State Rep. Pete Lucido has put forward legislation to make cyberbullying a crime in Michigan, another major issue for online gamers.
“There has to be responsibility for one’s words or actions. We should all know when we cross that line with what we say no matter whether it with our voice or typed in,” Lucido said. “The time is now for Michigan to stop sweeping communicated threats under the rug.”
The legislation, which is currently awaiting consideration on the Senate floor, would make a first offense of cyberbullying under the plan may be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine. Second or subsequent violations carry penalties up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. If the online intimidation escalates to an assault or serious injury, offenders may be charged with a felony with up to five years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine. If the offense leads to a fatality, it’s a felony punishable up to 10 years behind bars and a $10,000 fine.
As for McAfee, they’ve determined some kids are set to spend nearly 15 hours a week playing video games despite concerns of violence, sexual images or sensitive information.
“Over the years gaming has grown dramatically in popularity and it’s now become an everyday habit for many people, particularly children,” said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at McAfee. “There are many advantages to playing video games, and they can be a great tool at parents’ disposal during the summer months where they need to keep their children entertained while trying to manage everything else. But, it is imperative that parents understand the risks to their children while playing video games, do their own research about the games that their children are playing and know how to provide proper guidance to their children to keep them safe online.”
McAfee offers up ways to better protect your children via a specific A-B-C to do list:
- Avoid malicious links. If your children are searching online for gaming tips or new games to download, a tool like McAfee Web Advisor can help them avoid dangerous websites and links, and will warn them if they do accidentally click on something malicious.
- Be protected. No matter what anyone in the family is doing online, it’s best to use a security product like McAfee Total Protection that can help keep connected devices safe from malware. Just like any PC application, be sure to keep security software updated with the latest software version.
- Control how long they play. By using parental control software to set time limits on your child’s device usage you help minimize exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites.