Online Game Chatting: Dangers your children come across on the web

Tech News

(NBC5) – Many parents have been forced to learn about Fortnite and Overwatch after their kids latched on.

The platforms are a marriage of video gaming and the internet. Players compete online and talk about the games to each other.

In the Haba household, there’s a love for video games. Eight-year-old Kennedy and 11-year-old Kailey love to break out their electronics, sometimes against other players in other homes, anywhere out there.

“You were going to go to this place to buy candy in the simulator game and there would be people cursing like ‘what in the world is wrong with this game?” explained Kailey.

You likely know you need to limit the amount of time your kids play online but may not have realized every moment they’re playing some online games, they’re open to talking to other players about the game or about almost anything.

“I know at one point, I think discord had a child pornography problem,” said computer expert Randy Haba.

Discord is not even a game but a communication platform, like instant messenger.

Often times players will be slaying the bad guys online all while communicating on sites like discord or TeamSpeak. It can be completely harmless or it could be things you never thought out.

“Could be racist, most of the stuff that I see it’s kind of a sexual innuendo,” said Haba.

He would know. Haba is a longtime gamer and computer expert. He’s played since his teens, still does as an adult, and passed it on to his daughters.

“He would come into the living room and he would play on the PS4 or Xbox and I’d be like ‘that game looks fun,’” said Kailey.

He may have passed on his love of gaming but he’s also super connected to the gaming world and knows what to look for to keep his daughters gaming safe.

“It’s no different than when we were younger, our parents would let us go ride bikes in the neighborhood with other kids,” Haba said. “It’s the same concept but you have to apply that in a digital world.”

The problem is many parents haven’t picked up a gaming controller since the first Nintendo and boy have things changed.

“Youtube is not your babysitter,” said parent Brian Montfort. “A lot of people put that expectation on it.”

Montfort took the time to research the games his kids were playing and try them out himself.

“It’s very easy to get into these groups, these servers, I can send you a link and literally, you’re on my server just like that, If I’m a bad actor then you’re probably being exposed to things you don’t want your kids to see,” he added.

Montfort shares his findings on his youtube channel, so more parents can be in the know.

“It’s best that you know what they’re trying to be engaging in so that way you can maybe even play it with them as well and you can at least watch and participate.”

If you have older kids, maybe sign them up to play on your team, and be a watchdog over their siblings.

A spokesperson for Discord told us “Discord is a 13+ platform. We encourage young users and parents to only message and join servers with friends and family they know.”

TeamSpeak added, “TeamSpeak is primarily a voice communication tool, similar to Skype or your Cell – meaning that people are free to talk about whatever they want. As we do not host the software ourselves, we do not have any way to control or moderate this. We would recommend Parents use the same approach to their Child’s safety while using TeamSpeak as they do with other forms of voice communication/social media.”

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