If you have been keeping up with the latest global trends, the chances are that you have heard of Fortnite, a popular video game in recent times. This free online game, which has taken the globe by storm has over 125 million downloads since it was unveiled in 2018 September. Primarily, this teen-rated game is recommended for teenagers aged between 13 and over, although it also appeals to relatively younger children.
Looking at it from an educator’s perspective, it is quite easy to note why this, as well as any other trending games, influences students. Whether it is conversation or conflict, numerous teachers are identifying the correlation to these games their students are subsequently playing. Regrettably, making their way into gaming habits, schools, as well as personal, opinionated arguments and rivalries are influencing both the privacy and health of students.
According to the Bondi Beach public school Australian board, Fortnite has resulted in a direct and noticeable change in several behaviors both on the playground as well as the classroom. Moreover, while Fortnite has been rated M (for Mature) by the distinct Australian Classification Board, there are several claims from folks as young as eight years to have played the game.
COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) outlines that there must be distinct age verification strategies in place where a tech product has an audience of individuals aged 13 years and below.
While new games, trends, and gadgets tend to pop up every time, what most parents might not realize is the subsequent impact these particular fads may have on children both inside and outside the classrooms. Considering their potential to result in privacy and health conflicts, parents need to be more aware and vigilant.
Types of In-Game Content That Is Harmful To Students
- Sexual Content: this includes explicit as well as frequent sexual behavior depictions, sexual-charged violence, and nudity.
- Inappropriate Language: this includes inappropriate Language in the gameplay, which may consist of sexual commentary, profanity, mature Content language, and racial stereotypes.
- Drug References: this includes images either of the use or distribution of illegal drugs or various legal drugs like tobacco, alcohol, etc.
- Violence: mostly, any gameplay which involves conflict, aggression, or even death. Usually designed to appear realistic, most violent gameplay may include personal injury, physical battle, and dismemberment, death followed by blood, suggestive, violent scenes, and weapons. Such type of Content may encourage the players to engage in physical violence or acts of aggression, both inside and outside the classroom.
- Provocative Themes: usually, games use provocative or timely themes to attract their players. While this provision may contain all those mentioned above, provocative Content may encourage players to subsequently indulge in harmful, illegal, or potentially harmful activities in reality.
Gaming Elements That Could Potentially Impact Student Privacy:
- In-Game Purchasing: downloading or purchasing digital goods and games with real money may be hazardous. Some of the available Content for purchase includes skins, music, bonus levels, surprise items, in-game currency, season passes, and subscriptions, among others. If you download or buy Content or products from untrustworthy sources, the chances are that they may introduce viruses or malware. Once allowed, such malicious software may effectively spread to the server and host network, potentially gaining access to online accounts, email addresses, or various other stored Content.
Always encourage your children to utilize the trusted app store of their devices when downloading or making content purchases. Also, help them to avoid visiting unknown links/websites claiming to offer cheat codes, free-content, or claim to be instructional videos.
- Unmonitored User Interaction: generally, online games that feature media sharing, as well as user to user communication functions, allow gamers to share, interact, and also communicate with others. Nonetheless, these distinct channels usually go unmonitored, something that could expose the players to potentially harmful and inappropriate Content. What’s more, during these interactions, individuals may intentionally or accidentally exchange and share various personally identifiable details. How? If you are looking for online assignment assistance and you want to know if EssayOnTime can write my essay, or which other writing services can help you boost your academic performance, you may need to interact with the company to describe how you want your essay done. While professional writing services will usually guarantee anonymity and personal information security, a malicious site posing as an essay writing service may take advantage to steal personal information.
Therefore, parents need to continually remind their kids to never disclose any personal information such as passwords, login credentials, email addresses, open suspicious sites, and links. Also, they must not reveal the names of other players, or even get enticed by free-content scams. Typically, cyberbullies and criminals use these and many different tactics to phish for personal details, steal in-game Content, not to mention harass vulnerable persons. If these details are taken, they may be shared online, utilized by criminals to commit various identity theft crimes, or sold on the ‘dark web.’
- Location Sharing: currently, streaming has grown in popularity among gamers. For instance, platforms like Twitch allow players to share their live gameplay with multiple viewers around the web. Typically, gaming consoles, streaming platforms, as well as individual games, may display your location to others too. The sharing of location data and using free wifi networks ideally helps developers in determining how many online players are active, not to mention the game’s overall popularity. Nonetheless, in the unfortunate event that a cybercriminal acquires the IP address of a gamer, they could potentially breach the privacy of a student and intercept and target the various private details being exchanged on an otherwise vulnerable institution or home network.
Ultimately, we can’t overlook the fact that online gaming can significantly influence student privacy, as well as their physical and psychological health. Nevertheless, although gaming is a great and fun way for students to ease the stress and burden that comes with learning, it is however vital that students (and parents) exercise vigilance when it comes to online gaming. This way, they can avoid the various potentially hazardous and harmful effects that online gaming and technology can have on them.