Video game chat room box

Video games are becoming more and more interactive these days, and most kids use platforms that allow them to play along with people from all around the world. They can even record their own video game sessions and broadcast them live through platforms like Twitch. One of the most popular features of modern platforms is video game chat. If you have kids who play video games, it’s important to understand what video game chat rooms are and why they’re potentially dangerous.

What are Video Game Chat Rooms?

If you use Instagram DMs or have sent messages on LinkedIn you know about chat features. They’re built into websites and apps to let users instantly message. Some sites are even incorporating video chat features for live communication.

Kids are often attracted to chat rooms because they’re still developing their social skills. They like the idea of interacting with people from across the country, around the world, or even next door. Some kids even place the people they game and chat with often into the “friend” category.

If you have a child who struggles with social anxiety, don’t feel surprised if you find out they’re using video game chats. Many kids have trouble interacting with peers in person but find they can open up much easier when the conversation unfolds through a chat box.

There are different types of chat rooms that kids may encounter when playing video games, including:

What Video Game Platforms Have Open Chat Rooms?

Are you wondering if your child has access to private or open chat rooms through their preferred gaming services? If they play some of the most popular video games and spend a lot of time online, there’s a good chance that they’re at least seeing the chat features.

The following video game platforms all offer chat features for users:

Your kids may also chat with other people while playing through streaming memberships offered by Playstation and other gaming consoles. The consoles allow users to pay one flat fee every month to access a variety of features through services like Playstation Live. Players can friend one another and see what games they’re playing, and they can chat around the clock.

Are There Age Restrictions for Video Game Chat Rooms?

There are no age restrictions for most video game chat rooms. If your child is old enough to gain access to the platform or finds a way to get in at a younger age, they more than likely can access all open chat rooms in addition to private chat features.

There are some video game apps and platforms that set high age limits for all users. For example, the Call of Duty app is restricted to users over the age of 16. That doesn’t mean that younger kids don’t find ways to access the app, but the higher age limit does help keep young children out of more adult conversations happening in video game open chat rooms.

Some video game platforms may limit private messaging and video chat to users with upgraded paid memberships. That is one way to stop some kids from accessing chat features because they’re less likely to have money to pay for a monthly subscription. Unfortunately, many gaming platforms used by minors open all their chat features to everyone with an account.

Why Open Chat Rooms are Potentially Dangerous for Kids

Open chat rooms come with some serious risks for children and even many teenagers and young adults. While platforms may have some policies in place to discourage bullying and inappropriate conversations, there are always ways for negative conversations to take place. You never know where a conversation is going to go when you open it to anyone wandering through an active gaming platform.

Let’s look at some of the things that could happen if your child accesses video game chat rooms:

Are Private Chat Rooms Dangerous, Too?

Private chats are just as dangerous as group or open chat rooms. In fact, they may present even more serious risks because children don’t have the support of other people witnessing the conversation.

Someone can send your child a private message that they read without realizing what it contains. The damage is done in an instant if that message contains pornographic, violent, or other inappropriate words and images. Even if your child deletes the message and blocks the sender, they may feel traumatized by what they've seen.

When children willingly participate in private conversations because they’re fun or they feel they know the person on the other end, there’s even more room for danger. Experienced predators can manipulate and influence the thinking of many children when they have them alone in a virtual chat room. With time, they can convince some children to meet them, call them, or reveal their location or school name.

How to Protect Your Children from Open Chat Rooms in Video Game Platforms

The only way to ensure your children never encounter video game chat rooms is to stop them from playing on platforms that offer chat features. Another option is to limit their involvement. Not many gaming apps have parental control or chat locks, so you will have to forbid them from playing most apps and platforms if you want to avoid all chat exposure.

If you want your child to enjoy gaming but are concerned about video game chat features, the best thing you can do is follow these simple steps:

Is There an Age When Open Chat Rooms are Okay?

If your kids are in middle or high school, you’re likely wondering if any of this applies to them. After all, they’re hearing and experiencing everything from bullying to bad language at school anyway, right?

Unfortunately, you can’t assume that older kids are prepared for the conversations they may overhear. Some high school kids are mature enough to process what they’re hearing and shut out conversations. They may even know enough to look information up online to see if it’s true or get the other side of the story.

But many kids don’t have the self-awareness and emotional maturity to handle what is tossed around lightly in open chat rooms online. The conversations they hear could confuse or emotionally harm them. They may even feel embarrassed enough not to ask for help or clarification.

So, is there an age at which you can stop worrying about what your child is experiencing in a chat room? That’s a call that every parent must make alone. If your child has already struggled with bullying or other difficult topics, then they may have more vulnerabilities than other children.

What to Say to Your Kids About Video Game Chat Rooms

Start by telling your kid that you’ve been learning about the video game platforms they use because you’re interested. Tell them about some of the fun, positive features you’ve read online about the games they like to play. This opens the door to communication by relating to your child.

Next, ask if they like video game chat features on any platform and what it's been like for them. Tell them about the potential dangers in a calm voice. Even if your child tries to say those dangers aren’t real or valid, remain calm. Allow a rational, two-way conversation that covers all of the risks that you have learned about.

Finally, let your child know what you expect when it comes to open chat rooms online. If you’re going to allow your child to use chat features, make sure they understand the importance of not revealing personal information. You may want to sit in while your child is chatting during a game to see what they hear and see. 

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