With parents and kids working and learning remotely, screen time is on the rise and many parents have relaxed the usual limits on activities like online gaming and using communication apps. But during this time of parental multitasking, how can we protect our children from dangerous or inappropriate content, or even from developing an online gambling problem?
For starters, control the content your child can view by learning how to use the parental controls for your WiFi network. If you’re not sure how, contact your internet service provider for instructions. Next, adjust the settings on each of your electronic devices. For computers, look for the child-safety tools built into Mac and Windows, and adjust the Google Safe Search settings on each browser you use. To lock down cell phones and tablets, use Apple’s ScreenTime for iOS or Google Family Link for Android.
Even when they are using games and apps that you approve of, it’s good to pay attention to your child’s gaming habits. Some online games imitate the features and behaviors of online gambling, even when the games are centered on “harmless” themes like pets or candy. In some games, players can earn fake money or other prizes that can be traded for an opportunity at winning more—just like real-life gambling. And when kids are spending more time online, it’s easier for them to get distracted from responsibilities like school work, chores, and family activities. For more information about how gaming can turn into problem gambling, check out this brochure.