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How can parents and guardians support children in the virtual world?
· Read the terms and conditions of use with their children before they enter the virtual world, discus safety precautions together, set some basic rules and monitoring use to ensure that the rules are respected.
· Educate young users about the responsible use of technology in general, encouraging them to listen to their instincts and use their common sense.
Ensure use of technical solutions such as:
· Filters and parental controls.
· User history.
· Confirm the use of automated moderation, such as text filtering which recognizes specific words patterns and URLs or more sophisticated filters which include the Anti-Grooming Engines (AGE).
· Ratings: parents and guardians should be aware of rating symbols and their use as an important tool to protect young users from inappropriate services and content.
· Age verification.
ü Check that the virtual world is monitored through active in-game and/or silent moderation.
ü Stay involved in young users’ activities in the virtual world.
ü Stay calm and don’t jump to conclusions if you hear or see of anything that concerns you about your child’s behavior or the behavior of one of their online friends. If your children fear that you will simply cut off their social lifeline, they are likely to be increasingly reluctant to share problems or concerns they may have.
ü Be open-minded to reports from the virtual world community teams that your child may behave quite differently online than offline, face to face with you.
ü Learn the online culture so you believe the typical excuses young people give when faced with accountability for their behavior online, such as ―someone stole my account.
ü Teach your children not to share their virtual world access passwords with friends or siblings.
ü Contact the Community Head via the virtual world’s website contact page and share your concerns and questions.
ü Don’t assume everyone on the net is targeting your child. Statistics show that offline problems with pedophiles far outweigh online incidents. In general, children’s sites can be safe and can provide a wonderful, creative social and educational experience for your child but only if you stay involved and aware.