10 Things Parents Need to Know About Xbox LIVE and Kids Safety

Xbox LIVE is the online sevice for the Xbox 360. With a paid gold membership and a set of headphones, your child can play online with a community of 40 million other users worldwide.

This can be seriously awesome for the gaming enthusiast in your house, but there are 10 important things parents should know about Xbox LIVE and keeping kids safe before setting it up for their child. 

  1. It's more than just a gaming site. Xbox LIVE users can also chat with each other, send and receive friend requests, and share their profile and gaming stats.

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The Pros and Cons of Xbox: Is Xbox Good for Kids?

Many parents today are wondering if Xbox is good for kids, and while there is much debate about this topic, the findings tend to show there may be more cons than pros when it comes to kids playing the popular video game system. With complaints that this kind of gaming leaves kids too isolated from others to concerns over damaged vision from staring at the screen, parents and educators everywhere are very wary of the potential negative effects.

Yet, there are positive effects that can come from playing Xbox and Xbox Live. Xbox Live is a feature of Xbox which enables the player to game online against their friends or other people. Both Xbox and Xbox Live can have plenty of positive and negative impacts on kids.

Pros

Some of the most common positive effects of playing video games include that Xbox:

  • Increases self-confidence

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Is My Child Suffering From Gaming Addiction?

The number of children addicted to video games is increasing at an alarming rate. More and more kids are choosing the television and PC screens over interpersonal interactions with friends and family. Games have become so advanced that they have the power to captivate players like never before. Let's take a look at some signs of video game addiction along with some parenting strategies that can wean kids off of video games.

Signs Of Addiction

Your child may be addicted to video games if he spends most of his free time in front of the screen and has developed an anti-social personality. If the first thing he does when he gets home from school is head over to his console for some Xbox Live or his PC for an online game like World Of Warcraft,

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5 Methods to Limit Screen Time in Your Home

Let's face it: most of us spend too much time in front of screens. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that kids and teens ages 8-18 spend about 7.5 hours using entertainment media daily. Kids and teens aren't the only age groups that spend too much time in front of screens! In 2013, Advertising Age magazine concluded that adults in the U.S. spend approximately two and a half hours a day online, nearly the same amount of time on mobile devices and smartphones, and another four and a half hours watching TV. 

While, at best, screens can be educational, entertaining, and convenient, there's a fine line that exists between screens adding value to our lives and where they begin to negatively impact our health. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that no one should spend more than 1 or 2 hours in front of a screen daily. Excessive screen time has been

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Quick Facts About the Xbox Live Gaming Console

XBox Live Quick Facts:

  • The Xbox 360 is the second video game console produced by Microsoft, the first one being just the Xbox.

  • There are over 720 Xbox 360 games now and roughly 7.5 games are sold to every Xbox 360 owner.

  • The top three games played on Xbox Live are: 'Halo 3', 'Call of Duty 4' and 'Call of Duty: World at War' - all of which have a social aspect

  • As well as gaming, the Xbox 360 can also be used for watching movies, listening to music and social networking.

What is Xbox LIVE?

Xbox LIVE is the online service for Xbox 360. With a paid gold membership, people can play games and chat with other players, download games to their console, control avatars in a virtual world, search for entertainment, and watch movies and TV.

At signup, users choose a gamertag by which they'll be known on Xbox live and an avatar, a computer animated figure to be their virtual self.

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Digital Parenting: Are Your Children Gaming Safely?

Have a gaming teen, tween or child in your household?

Parental monitoring and involvement is critical when it comes to helping children game safely. You should take an active interest in the games that your child plays and wants to buy.

We also suggest that research game ratings and content on www.esrb.org. This website is maintained by the Entertainment Software Rating Board which rates thousands of games each year.

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5 Tips to Protect Your Children from Dangerous Games on Social Media

This article was written by Tyler Cohen Wood for Manilla.com and orginally posted on the Huffington Post.

As many of us know, social media changes so quickly that it is often hard to keep up. New videos and games pop up constantly and immediately go viral. The latest craze to hit social media is a game called Neknominate.

How the game works is alarming: Typically, a young person drinks a large amount of alcohol (such as half a bottle of vodka) in a bizarre fashion, like half-naked at a mall or mixed with a dead rat, and he posts it to his social network, usually Facebook or YouTube. After he plays the game, he nominates a friend

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How To Combat Cyberbullying In Online Games

While “lives” can be gained and lost with the click of a button in the online gaming world, everyday real-world lives are being affected by the things that happen in games. Recently the developers of the game, High School Story, made news by adding a cyberbullying storyline into the game. This was done after a call came into their technical helpline that included a player saying she was thinking about taking her own life. Taking into account the competitive nature of games, it is easy (just as in real world games and athletics) for things to escalate into bullying.

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Online Parenting: Mom and Dad, Watch Out For Gaming Sites

What Is Online Gaming?

The world of online gaming is a diverse one, with thousands of games available. Simple applications, such as Pathwords and Typing Maniac, are built into Facebook and mobile phones. More complex games include massive online multi-player role-playing games such as Second Life and Internet-based gambling websites. Many online games require a membership or credit card, but others are available for free.

 What Are the Dangers of Online Gaming?

Because the online gaming world is so diverse, the dangers vary from game to game. One of the most serious concerns is that online gaming can be addictive. Additionally, online games give users an opportunity to interact with a wide variety of people.

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Guest Post: Six Deadly Sins of Online Gaming and Digital Parenting

Everything is good in moderation. That first piece of chocolate is delicious, but after the 20th piece you start and feel a little bit sick. A twenty minute jog may be a great idea, but a two hour jog can be torture. This is a concept that can be applied to all walks of life.Online gaming is an area this is definitely applied to. Online games, such as Ben 10 online games and Scooby Doo games, are great for children if played in moderation and used properly. If your child does not commit the following six deadly gaming sins then they will have great fun and you will take another step closer towards appropriate digital parenting.

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Guest Post: Why I love Zoodles

This Military Appreciation Month guest post comes from one of our favorite Military Mommy Bloggers, Lori, over at Air Force Wife Life. Check out her blog and read below about why she loves Zoodles, the kid-safe internet browser. 

Why I love Zoodles

Currently I’m living overseas in the Middle East with my husband and our two extremely cute and extremely curious children. I’m writing this because I’d like to share with you a service that I recently stumbled upon. I’m so very glad that I did!

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Online Gaming and Parental Monitoring

Today's parents are aware of the dangers of social networks like Facebook and are careful to establish a system for parental monitoring of their child's online activities. This may involve having the password to the child's social media accounts and even restricting activity to a family computer in a common area in the home. But that may not be enough to keep your kids safe.

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A Holiday Story From TrendingMom: The Christmas Jerk

This is an original post from one of our favorite bloggers, Shivani Cotter of TrendingMom.com. You can read this article, and many more, here.

Some people really are just jerks… either that, or they have no concept of reality.

Christmas seems to bring out the best and worst in people.  What we tend to forget as we grow older is that it is truly a magical time for the little one’s in this world.  I read something disturbing tonight.

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Internet Habits and Patterns: Red Flags For Teen Depression

All parents know that the Internet is a place that requires parental involvement and parental monitoring. There are cyberbullies, online predators, and identity thieves out there to worry about.

But the obvious dangers notwithstanding, did you know that some Internet uses and behaviors may also be linked to a teen's physical and mental health, too? Many studies suggest a correlation between certain types of online behavior and physical or mental health problems, from anxiety to obesity.

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Understanding ESRB Ratings

online gamesThe ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) is a non-profit organization that assigns computer and video game content ratings, enforces industry-adopted advertising guidelines and helps ensure responsible online privacy practices for the interactive entertainment software industry.  The ESRB was started so consumers, especially parents, could make informed purchasing decisions.

The ESRB Rating is made up of two equally important parts:  Rating Symbol and Content Descriptors.  This two-part approach provides parents with a more granular understanding of the games they might buy and the ones their kids are playing – online and off.

Ratings Symbols

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Kids Safety: Teen Sentenced for Killing to Pay for Online Games

Depositphotos_13167385_sParents worry about their kids safety playing online video games for a lot of reasons: too much screen time, too often, too late at night, too violent – the list goes on. But they probably have never given much thought to a scenario like this one before.

18-year old Le Van Luyen of Hanoi, Vietnam confessed in August to the triple murders of a shopkeeper, his wife, and his 19-month-old daughter (inexplicably, he also cut off the 9-year-old daughter's hand) in order to pay for his online gaming habit

.Luyen was sentenced this month to 18 years in prison for murder and armed robbery. He took jewelery and gold worth around $100,000 after the crime was committed. He told authorities he needed the money to play Kiem The, a particularly violent online game.

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Kids Safety: Man Attacks 13-Year-Old Over Taunting On Video Game

Call of Duty: Black Ops? It's a first-person shooter game for PlayStation 3 that recreates many of the Black Ops missions of the Cold War. Even though it's rated 'M' for mature as a kids safety warning, it's really popular with teens. What's the worst that could happen?

Well, something frightening happened in the U.K. recently involving the game. A 13-year-old boy was playing Call of Duty: Black Ops at a friend's house and was talking trash to another gamer, 46-year-old Mark Bradford. Apparently Bradford knew where the boy was, and when he'd had enough he stomped into the house and began strangling him.

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Impact of Online Gaming on Teen Sleep and Kids Safety

Like most things teens might do to fill their time, online gaming has its pros and cons. Gaming improves hand-eye coordination, encourages problem solving, and can foster teamwork and social skills (in multi-player games.) On the other hand, too much of a good thing can be, well, bad and can affect teen kids safety. Several studies have followed the effects of gaming in teens, including the latest released by the American Psychiatric Association revealing a correlation between too little sleep and Internet gaming.

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A Kids Safe Game for Girls: CookingGames.net

Online gamers used to be mainly teen boys interested in playing first-person shooter and car racing games. But the face of online gaming has changed significantly in recent years. CookingGames.com is one of the many recent start-ups that caters to the preteen girl gamer market. Its tagline? “Why should boys have all the fun!”

The free kids safe games at CookingGames.net are very simple, brightly colored, animated games with titles like Pink Girls, My Cute Puppy, and Justin Bieber Pizza Pasta. The free gaming site started out offering nothing but cooking games (variations of decorating your own pizza, cinnamon roll, birthday cake, and so on,) but has recently begun to offer additional categories like dress up, make up, kissing, decorating, and puzzle and word games.

The site is purportedly a safe site for girls ages 4 to 14, but that doesn't mean parents shouldn't be there to supervise. The kissing games are relatively innocent, but because the main object is to kiss your partner for as long as possible without being caught it is obviously not age-appropriate for some visitors to the site.

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A Parent's Guide to Club Penguin and Kids Safety

kids on tabletsDesigned for ages 6 to 14, Club Penguin is a virtual world where kids can play games, earn virtual currency, customize their world, and interact with each other in a kid-friendly environment.

Club Penguin Overview

Kids roam the cartoon world of Penguin Island in the form of colorful penguin avatars, playing games to earn virtual coins which are used to “buy” new clothes, furniture, and other extras to decorate and customize their avatars, their igloos, and furry little pets called “Puffles.”

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