Videogames have tackled their extension on the Net in a definitive way. This opens up a range of extraordinary options that accompany some shadows that should be known and controlled, especially when we talk about children and adolescents.
Some debates about videogames have helped society to know better this form of leisure and culture and recognize its magnificent possibilities to develop in those who use them a great variety of knowledge, skills and abilities. It is also evident that some delicate aspects still persist, such as:
- the limits to be established to avoid abusive use and its consequences.
- the control of access to unsuitable titles for certain ages that takes place in stores, in illegal markets, by means of downloads or by mere loan between individuals.
- the limited ability of some adults to select video games appropriate to the characteristics and age of the child, ignoring even the existence or meaning of the PEGI code.
- the effects that video games based on content and behaviors that are not recommended (extreme violence, xenophobia, etc …) can have in the short or medium term in their players due to the high degree of immersion they provide during their use.
Beyond these issues, a new panorama is opening up with more force in which the traditional videogames address their online extension, adding to the already existing and classic multiplayer online games. Let’s focus on this double casuistry exclusively, since the theme of the game has many meanings and variables.
Valuable opportunities of the game in Network
It is obvious that being able to play online in websites like http://notdoppler.online with other people, with one or dozens at the same time, provides very interesting components not only from the play point of view but, above all, from the point of view of personal development and socialization.
The virtual worlds in which many people can intervene at the same time allow us to experience the environments as systems of multiple variables that are drawing a changing reality to which we must know how to adapt. In the same way, it is possible not only to define collective strategies but also to construct in a collaborative way elements that, later on, can be shared with the community of players that can, in turn, evaluate and enrich them. Multiplayer online games are a clear example of collective intelligence development in a competitive environment.
Ten risk factors in new online videogames
However, we also find new situations that may entail risks in which children and adolescents are less prepared to react. Being aware of this is the first step to prevent it.
1) Players identified and traceable
When playing online, when entering and identifying, we allow you to record all our activity and associate it with the profile or user with whom we have started the session. This information can have many readings and, the same, varied purposes. What do you know about our children? With whom do you share this information?
2) Contextual and personalized advertising
An online game can behave in a certain way like the web page of our bank. You already know who we are, our preferences, expectations or needs. It offers us at every moment what you want to propose or what you expect us to be looking for. Do you handle that information responsibly?
3) Contacts with strangers and advanced communication functions
The added attraction of being able to play with other people is supported by features that allow us to participate in groups such as chat with voice or image. Are we aware that anyone can be on the other side?
4) Relaxation of the patterns of parental control and self-protection
When we enter a public chat room, we keep in mind that we are going to chat and we associate this practice with protection measures against the usual risks. However, when we enter to play, the playful purpose prevails and in that activity we accept the disparity of ages typical of many videogames. Is this attitude really justified? Is it safe?
5) Threats to privacy and diffuse barriers with social networks
In many cases, the social network that accompanies the video game is really powerful and, in others, it is difficult to differentiate if a video game is really a social network and vice versa. Would not it be appropriate for us to deal with the risks to privacy as we do with social networks?
6) Incitement to gambling or chance games
Without it being a generalized practice, sometimes this other form of game that involves bets is integrated in a sibylline way in online games since, in some way, it is also a game. Are we clear that this can happen with apparent normality?
7) Difficulties added to parental supervision
Although the average age of the gamer exceeds twenty-five years, the high learning curve means that many adults have barely seen this practice. If we also consider the vast diversity and complexity that exists, the environment becomes impregnable. Can we adults allow that lack of supervision?
8) Existence of uses that suppose economic expense
The virtual currency and the possible equivalence with real currency mean that these games can handle non-negligible amounts of money. Sometimes, the desire to achieve progress can lead to large outlays. Are we aware of the real expense related to online games?
9) Persistent world … permanent game
These are virtual environments that, in the absence of the player, continue to evolve. This, added to its attractiveness and to the loyalty techniques developed by its designers, can provoke a certain need to play that degenerates into a frame of abusive use, more likely even if we can intervene from the mobile phone. Do we pay attention to the number and duration of the game sessions?
10) Difficulty of census, cataloging and control
By the mere fact of being online, its content and operations can be changed very quickly. This makes it possible to correct deficiencies and incorporate improvements with great immediacy, but also hinders an adequate census, characterization and monitoring. Do we have enough valid references to contrast our information needs in relation to video games?
For all these reasons, the online video game brings with its great advantages no less important challenges regarding the protection of the child that must be addressed.