Every year technology seems to embed itself deeper into our homes and lives. Many electronic gadgets we never even dreamed about have now become essential devices we use every day. While the benefits of technology are readily seen and experienced by people everywhere, the dangers of new technological devices are frequently overlooked. A telling article posted by ConsumerReports.org sheds light on a very real epidemic facing today’s young generation of gamers.
By December of 2013, Sony sold more than 4.2 million PlayStation 4 units featuring an interactive, augmented reality gaming experience known as the “Playroom.” While the name appears harmless enough, this PlayStation 4 feature has exposed many children to inappropriate adult content.
In her Consumer Reports article, Carol Mangis explains: “Playroom uses the PS4 Eye camera accessory to superimpose virtual objects on video that you capture of your own living room. Users had been using Playroom to capture some pretty racy content (including nudity and foul language), then distributing it via Sony’s PS4 Live app, which is meant to let gamers broadcast their own gameplay…”  In the article, she also noted that even at the maximum level of parental controls, where even the web browser was blocked, they could still view the live streams.  The only way the techies at Consumer Report could block those streams was “by creating a sub account (watch the video here on how to block live-streamed adult content).  Not only can anyone use the PS4 camera to upload inappropriate home videos to be shared with other PS4 users, but an online article posted by the gaming website “Kotaku” notes a growing trend that consumers of the PS4 use their gaming consoles to watch more pornography than consumers of any other gaming system.
Many gaming systems have parental control settings that can be used to protect children from inappropriate content, but sometimes these controls are not enough. To ensure your child’s safety from exposure to mature or adult content, here are some helpful tips:

  • Consider observing or participating with your child as they engage with interactive gaming systems
  • Go online and research the games your child is playing to see if they are age appropriate
  • Discuss limiting the amount of time your child spends using gaming devices and suggest fun alternatives
  • Take advantage of helpful instructional videos of how to more effectively monitor your child’s gaming device

Interactive gaming systems can provide a creative and fun outlet for children and teens, but it is essential for parents to know how to effectively guard their children from inappropriate content.
To read the full article on the dangers of the PlayStation 4’s weak parental controls and to learn how to successfully block disturbing content, follow this link: www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/01/parental-controls-for-ps4-live-are-terrible/index.htm

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