December 3, 2021
On Thursday, December 2, 2021, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) hosted “Chums, Cheaters and Creeps: An Educational Webinar about Keeping Online Play Safe for Everyone,” a virtual event for policymakers and their staffs focusing on online safety, privacy, children’s protection and video games.
Featuring Callahan Walsh of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), Patricia Vance of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), Dr. Rachel Kowert of Take This and moderator Stephen Balkam of the Family Online Safety Institute, the panel explored the online gaming safety landscape, along with the tools available for parents and guardians to help protect children online.
“Almost 80 percent of parents have household rules about how much time their kids are allowed to stay on screens,” Vance said on the topic of screen time.
Kowert added that she approaches screen time from a digital diet perspective, akin to the food pyramid. “There’s the cookies of screen time and the meat-and-potatoes of screen time. It’s about balance, it’s not about one set number.”
When discussing broader online safety issues, Callahan encouraged parents to understand gaming technology. “Jump on the console with your child and ask questions about how it works,” he said. “Have ongoing conversations with your kids about safety and set ground rules.”
Callahan added that ultimately it’s children who have to make decisions themselves when confronted with risky online interactions. To help facilitate communication between parents, guardians and their children, NCEMC has a wide range of conversation starters, conversation guides and robust virtual training opportunities on their website.
Online Safety Resources