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Essential Tips for Healthy Gaming

safe gamingMore and more children play games these days. And believe it or not, more and more adults do the same! It's not a surprise that many people earn a lot of money by streaming their game-related activities using websites like Twitch and/or by getting involved in various e-gaming tournaments.

So, it looks like games are here to stay. Most of them are fun, helping us relax at the end of a tiring day and relieving stress. More than this, games allow us to explore fabulous, never seen before worlds, interact with interesting characters, work our way towards reaching certain goals, and so on. Truth be told, both Velma and I have a passion for several (even though different) PS4 games. I love action games, while she prefers logical/puzzle games.

Very few parents are aware of the fact that their children may play "Adults Only" (AO) rated games, though. Not only that, but most online games include chat systems, which allow players to exchange messages in real time. This way, children may be offended by other players, who can troll or bully them. Also, predators will often use online games to target kids.

Some game chat mechanisms allow players to post links to other websites as well. This "feature" makes it possible to hackers to send links to infected websites, which will install malware on other people's computers. Most computer worms will bypass antivirus protection, gathering credit card information, personal account info, private pictures & documents, and more.

Other cyber criminals target kids by setting up sites which look legitimate, and promise access to the best online games for a fraction of their monthly price. Some children will use their parents' credit cards to get access to those fantastic games; in reality, criminals with get access to the credit card details.

As you can see, access to AO games, cyber bullying, malware and phishing are serious problems which will prevent your children from having a healthy gaming experience. However, there are several other game-related issues which can ruin your kids' physical health as well.

To begin with, lots of children spend too much of their free time playing games. Kids tend to play games at night, when there's nobody around, so they will sleep much less, and thus feel very tired next day. Some kids will start to ignore personal hygiene as well.

Children who spend several hours per day playing games will often get isolated. Many of them end up neglecting their families, friends and even school! Sometimes, when gaming becomes the main focus of their existence despite the negative consequences, kids may have a gaming-related behavioral disorder. World Health Organization has decided to include "gaming disorders" in its International Classification of Diseases" list. According to it, abnormal gaming behavior must be evident for at least 12 months in a row.

Here are three essential tips that will help your children have a healthy gaming experience.

1. Encourage them to get engaged in various offline activities, alone or together with their friends.

2. Limit the amount of time they're spending playing games. Let them have longer gaming sessions during weekends, but don't allow them to spend more than 30 minutes doing this activity during weekdays.

3. Ask them to play computer games with their friends as well. This way, you will help them avoid isolation and improve their social skills.