Safe Gaming For Kids

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Not too long ago, I did another spot on BBC TVs Newsround (a news program aimed at six to twelve year olds), talking about the scams aimed at younger gamers and surfers. Filming was good fun, and the room we filmed in was made to look all hacker-ish. All we were missing was dry ice and a guy in a trenchcoat, so kudos on that. Of particular relevance were fake Habbo Hotel logins and fake XBox Live programs, that claim to give you "free Microsoft points" but actually just steal your username and password.

I thought it might be useful to post up a list of handy gaming advice for younger gamers and their parents - some of the below links were originally posted to Vitalsecurity.org a while ago, but seeing as Vital is currently offline I don't think it's a huge problem reposting some of the links.

* First off, XBox Dad. A good blog with useful info. In particular, this entry regarding webcam settings might be helpful.

* Here's how you manage all the parental control stuff on XBox machines.

* This is a great site - Gamingwithchildren.com. I won't blab, just check it out. Good stuff.

* If you have a Wii and are currently throwing yourself around the house to the strains of Wii Fit, then you might want to check out the Wii Parental Controls page. You can even restrict the content that appears in the browser, which I must admit I had no clue you could do.

* Playstation is a bit of a pain, because if you go to their FAQ page it dumps you into some horrible mess of frames and it's impossible to link to anything. This article on USA Today seems to be accurate though, and covers settings for both PS3 and PSP which is a handy addition. The article dates back to 2006, but as far as I'm aware the information is still correct.

Something else I've noticed - a game I picked up recently had a "Child Safety Online" booklet inside the case, packed with quite a lot of content including information on Family Settings, creating a child account on XBox Live, Six Steps for Online Safety and information on PACT, which can be seen here. In general, gaming gets a hugely unfair press and nobody bothers to peel away the hype and actually applaud companies involved in gaming when they do something like this. So, Microsoft - congrats.

The "PACT" and "More Information" URLs are incorrect in the booklet though, so you might want to fix those ;)

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This page contains a single entry by Christopher Boyd published on November 20, 2008 12:13 PM.

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