While gaming your child will meet an amazingly diverse crowd of people and can end up talking to someone that they would never do so in normal life.
I have friends on my Steam account from all around the globe: Norway, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia, US, Lithuania, and many more. These are people I have connected with while playing a game in a virtual world.
Recently there was some idiocy that was the tete-a-tete between the US and Iran: The media jumped on this and spouted their inflammatory nonsense and speculation. Meanwhile I am reading funny comments from an Iranian gamer wondering if his internet connection is going to be affected in a way that he won’t be able to play games…
But of all the people on my friends list, do I really know who they are?
Of the many people on my friends list I know the first name of 4. I’ve not met a single one.
Does that matter?
No, I don’t think so. If you have a list of online friends and they are treated as such: with a touch of caution; always kept at a certain distance with no personal details ever shared. It doesn’t matter a great deal.
Add people to your friends list who you really connect with
Caution still needs to be taken when adding friends. The disappointment of an online friend showing their true colours cuts deep. From my post ‘Children Playing Online’ here’s the advice I give to adding friends:
Is the potential friend a similar age?
For kids 11 and under I would be asking if you, as a parent, know who this other person is. It’s best to stick to the people your child already knows at this age.
Most platforms that allow friend lists will have a delete, mute or block function. Sometimes there might also be a report function that may have to be used if the ‘friend’ is not who they seem.
Don’t accept friend requests from people they haven’t talked to
Just because someone played a game with you doesn’t mean you add them. And if they didn’t communicate in game they probably won’t do so in the future.
My post on helping your kids playing online: Children playing online.
My guidance on choosing a name for your child: What’s in a name?