So if you have a child between the ages of 8 years -16 years chances are you have heard of the online shooter game Fortnite: Battle Royale but aware you aware of the hidden dangers of the game?
Warning from NSPCC:
NSPCC have released a warning along with many local schools of safety concerns for young people on the game. The game currently has something in the region of 45 million registered players with anything around 3 million playing at any one time.
A feature of the game allows players to chat on voice links or via text messaging making it easy for strangers to get in contact with vulnerable young people across the world. We shared a post recently on our Facebook page about the upcoming apps and websites which young people are using to communicate with people and whilst there are many who use this to talk with friends the online is no longer a safe one for young people anymore.
The advice given by NSPCC is that the chat function on the game can be turned off and should be encouraged by parents when their children are playing the game however the text function can not be switched off leaving young people open to being contacted by strangers.
Laura Randall, the NSPCC’s associate head of child safety online has said that they encourage parents to:
- let children know they could talk to them if upset or worried by anything they had seen online
- familiarise themselves with what their children did online and understand why they liked particular apps or games
- agree family rules on how to use apps, sites and games
- use privacy settings and parental controls to keep children safe
Phishing for information:
In addition to the above issues local school have been sharing a warning that strangers have been using the online hat functions in their ‘Phishing’ activities and are trying to obtain confidential and sensitive information from player such as names, dates of birth, passwords and much more.
With this in mind schools are recommending the additional safety considerations for parents:
- Restricting payment methods. If you do not want your child to make payments, ensure your card is not associated with their account. If you are happy for your child to make payments in the game, but want to limit spending, use a paysafecard which can be purchased in a specific amount.
- If your child believes a player is talking inappropriately, they should report this through the in-game feedback tool located in the main menu of the game.
- Use a strong password
- It’s important your child selects a strong password when creating an account – this helps reduce the risk of the account being hacked.
- Prevent them talking to strangers
For more information about online safety visit: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/