Turn on almost any cartoon or kid-centric TV show, or flip any new kid’s toy over, and you’ll be directed to a website to play games, or to log in and “interact” with your new friend. Some of these, of course, will include announcements for new toys and products, but many of these websites have fun and educational games for different ages and levels to play. Of course, whenever your kids are surfing the web, there are some very important safety tips to keep in mind. These tips include:
1) Monitor the online actions and activities of all children. Just because you’ve logged them into an approved gaming site doesn’t mean they can’t leave that site (accidentally or not) and end up in a much less kid-friendly place.
2) Make sure you read and understand the game ratings on the site that you will allow your children to play on. Are there multiple games on the site? Are they all the same rating or are some for older children? Discuss what games you will allow and what you will not allow your child to play before their first alien is destroyed.
3) Make sure the games your child wants to play are free, and keep in mind that they will likely be bombarded with a series of product and goods advertisements on most free sites. (This is how they keep the site up and running.)
4) Make sure older children know never UFA to give out personal information like exact age, full name, or address. Older children still need to be monitored while online.
5) Finally, make sure children have a time limit to play these games; the amount of time must be directly related to their ages.
Lastly, online games can be more than just fun and, well, games. There are a number of educational games that are fun and feature your child’s favorite TV and cartoon characters. Versions of your favorite games are also available in children’s versions. Your older child or teenager can learn by playing role-playing or pretend games that are right for them. Take a look at the sites for kid-based networks, they usually also include games based on their most popular shows.