Online kids game sparks privacy warning for parents

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    March is National Fraud Prevention Month and this week focuses on cyber security. Last month, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection issued a warning about Roblox, a popular online adventure game for kids, which online predators are reportedly using to directly message and lure kids to secretly meet in person. BBB is helping parents keep their kids safe online by educating them about safe online practices.

    “Online games can be a great educational tool and entertainment source for kids,” says Mary O’Sullivan-Andersen, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay. “But with scammers and dangerous individuals using technology to directly reach kids, it’s crucial for parents to learn about and use privacy controls when it comes to their kids’ online activity.”

    What is Roblox?

    • Roblox is a multi-player online gaming platform with more than 15 million games available for kids to play

    • Kids create their own adventures and games themselves, role-play and interact with others (regardless of where they live) in a virtual,  3-D setting

    • Roblox can be accessed using a variety of mobile devices such as PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon devices and XBOX One

    How can parents protect their kids online?

     BBB says keep kids safe online with these cyber security tips:

    • Use Net Nanny software: Net Nanny is a program that allows parents to block, limit or filter what their kids are viewing online. Parents can also instill time management tools to limit screen time for their kids. Visit www.netnanny.com for more info.

    • Set parental permissions for downloading apps or games: Some devices only require fingerprint identification to download new content. Parents should use their fingerprint or set passwords and enter the password themselves instead of allowing their kids to do it on their own.

    • Talk to other parents and caregivers: Make sure the parents of your children’s friends are aware of the parental controls you use for your kids. Discuss the kinds of content your children are allowed and not allowed to view, the kinds of games they can or cannot play etc….

    • Talk to your kids: Be sure your kids understand the purpose of the parental controls and the potential dangers of the online world. Knowing what could happen or what could go wrong can help kids make informed decisions on their own.

    ** Roblox released an update on March 2nd, 2017 stating changes have been made to allow parents more privacy control options, including disabling the chat function of the game altogether. Read the full update here.

    For tips you can trust, visit bbb.org

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