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MoE Opinion on Online Gaming, Telecom News, ET Telecom

New Delhi: Do not allow in-game purchases without parental consent, avoid registering credit or debit cards on apps for subscriptions, use a screen name (avatar) that does not reveal their true name and install a home internet gateway with features such as monitoring, logging, and controlling what types of content children can access are some of the dos and don’ts listed in the Ministry of Health notice. ‘Safe online gaming education.

Noting that the closure of schools due to the CVID-19 pandemic has increased children’s mobile and internet use and ultimately online gaming addiction, the advisory for parents and teachers on the “Safe online game for children” has been released by the Ministry of Education to enable parents and teachers by educating them for the necessary actions, ensuring effective use to overcome all the disadvantages of online games with the associated mental and physical stress for children.

“Playing games leads to a serious gambling addiction which has been considered a gambling disorder. The game is designed so that each level is more complicated and complex than the last. to progress in the game. “

“Therefore, playing online games without restriction or limitation of the self leads many gamers to become addicted and are ultimately diagnosed with a gambling disorder. Gaming companies also emotionally force the child to buy more levels and force them to buy more levels. almost in-app purchases, ”the notice says. Noted.

Do not allow in-game purchases without parental consent, adopt OTP-based payment methods as per RBI guidelines, avoid registering credit and debit cards on apps for subscriptions, place an upper limit on per-transaction spending, not letting children buy directly from a laptop or mobile that they use for games, are among the don’ts listed in the notice.

“Children should be advised not to download software and games from unfamiliar websites. They should be told to watch out for links, images, and pop-ups on websites, as they may contain viruses and damage the computer, and may contain content that is inappropriate for their age. “, recommended the opinion.

“Children should be advised not to give out personal information on the Internet when downloading games or creating game profiles. Advise them not to communicate with strangers, including adults, by webcam, messaging private or online chat, as this increases the risk of contact with abusers online, or intimidation of other players, ”he said.

The advisory also recommended that children should be discouraged from playing for long hours without taking a break, given health and addiction aspects.

“Children should be told that when playing online games, if something is wrong, stop immediately and take a screenshot (using the ‘print screen’ button on the keyboard) and report it. Help your child protect their privacy online, get them to use a pseudonym (avatar) that does not reveal their real name “, are the” do’s “recommended in the opinion of the Ministry of the Environment.

“Use anti-virus and spyware programs and configure web browsers securely using a firewall. Enable parental controls and security features on the device or in the app or browser, as this allows you to restrict access to certain content and limit spending on in-game purchases, ”he said.

Check the age of any games your child plays, always make sure your child is accessing the internet from a home computer, and have the kids tell a stranger who is trying to strike up a conversation about something inappropriate or asking for personal information.

“When bullied, encourage not responding and keep track of harassing messages and report the behavior to the gaming site administrator and block, cut or remove that person from their player list, or turn off the chat in the game a function.

“Play alongside your child to get a better idea of ​​how they handle their personal information and with whom they communicate. Help your child understand that some features of online games are used to encourage more gambling and spending. Tell him about gambling, what it is and its consequences both online and in the physical world, ”he said.

The advisory also suggested that parents and teachers keep their eyes open for unusually secretive behaviors primarily related to their online activity, the sudden increase in the time they spend online, especially social media, s’ they seem to change the screen on their device when approached, they withdraw. or angry, after using the internet or sending text messages and their device suddenly has many new phone numbers and email contacts.

“Install a home Internet gateway with features like monitoring, logging, and controlling the types of content kids can access. Teachers need to keep an eye out for declining grades and students’ social behavior. If teachers observe anything that may appear suspicious or alarming, they should immediately notify school authorities.

“Teachers should make sure that children are educated from time to time about the pros and cons of the Internet. Teachers should train students on the safe configuration of web browsers and web applications,” the advisory added.