Parents, Beware: The Dark Side of Children’s Games
Parents, beware. You think your kids are using their iPad to play kid games? Think again! The app store might be full of harmless-looking games for kids, but behind the scenes, some apps are designed to steal your credit card information or lure your child into explicit chat rooms. In today’s blog post, we’ll show you how to avoid the dangers lurking in children’s apps, and how to keep your family safe online.
Is it too realistic?
Smaller kids’ toys that look like real guns present a significant risk. Even if they’re equipped with bright orange tips and can’t fire real bullets, parents should teach their children to never brandish these types of toys around police officers or others who might mistake them for actual firearms. This is especially important if you’re living in an area where gun violence is rampant or has increased due to gang activity. Never play with toy guns in public areas where violent crime occurs regularly.
Does it contribute to violence?
One game in particular is called Kindergarten Killer and it can be purchased online for as little as $10. This game is an obvious attempt to copy and mock Grand Theft Auto, a popular video game where players kill police officers. While Kindergarten Killer is not nearly as graphic or realistic as Grand Theft Auto there is still plenty of controversy surrounding it.
Can it manipulate children?
While modern video games are often seen as harmless ways to have fun with a child, many parents fail to realize that there is much more behind those pixels. What we often don’t think about is what kind of effect these games can have on children and how they could potentially be using these as manipulative tools. In most cases, it can be easy for children to manipulate their parents into buying them video games without realizing how much time they spend playing them or even if they’re addicted.
Should we be worried about AI (Artificial Intelligence)?
AI and its associated technologies like deep learning and neural networks are not inherently good or bad. They are a collection of mathematical algorithms that can be used for diverse purposes that include both good and bad outcomes. It is just as reasonable to think AI will have no significant effect on society as it is to believe they could bring about our extinction. So what should we do? Given recent advances in AI research, it is imperative that humans make strategic decisions now about how we want these technologies to be used and developed in the future.
Are they addictive?
Though parents may be aware that games designed for children are a potential risk to kids’ health and well-being, they may not realize just how dangerous they can be. Especially as children get older and start spending more time at home alone with their consoles and PCs (or even smartphones), parents need to be aware of addictive game elements like virtual currencies and rewards systems in kid-friendly games. These things are no different from drug addiction—they produce dopamine in the brain in much the same way as actual drugs do.
What can parents do?
Parents should check their children’s mobile devices and online gaming accounts on a regular basis. Kids can easily make friends online with strangers and those friendships can quickly become uncomfortable or even dangerous. Parents should also remind kids not to share personal information like addresses or phone numbers. And if a stranger contacts your child, parents should ask their children to stop communicating with that person immediately.