What Parents Need to Know About Online Gaming | JSB Talks Digital Podcast

Online Gaming - What Parents Need to Know

JSB Talks Digital is a weekly digital marketing and social media podcast hosted by author, strategist, consultant, speaker and trainer Joanne Sweeney-Burke. Each Friday Joanne shares her digital marketing and social media insights from her work as CEO of Digital Training Institute. 

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In this episode I discuss online gaming with gaming expert Eoghan Murphy and my 7-year-old son Bobby.

Coming up in the podcast:

  • In social media news:
    • Facebook rolls out ‘Live With’ friends and others;
    • Snapchat launches custom Snapchat Stories; and
    • A teenager in Belfast is charged under the Malicious Communications Act after he made the comments on social media following the Manchester terrorist attack.
  • Eoghan, Bobby and I discuss online gaming  – why kids want to game online and what parents should be aware of;
  • In shout-outs: three organisations shedding a little light into the world of online gaming;
  • Ask JSB – I ask Eoghan gaming questions on behalf of parents;
  • In JSB’s column – Online Gaming: Child’s play or a predators playground? and;
  • Find out what online gaming tool will save a gamer’s week.


Social Media News

Facebook rolls out ‘Live With’ friends and others

I am so excited with this news! Facebook is giving us more Live features, and now we can have go Live with friends and others. 

Live Chat With Friends

Live Chat With Friends lets you invite friends to a private chat about a public live broadcast. You can invite friends who are already watching or other friends who you think may want to tune in. You’re able to jump back into the public conversation at any time, and you can still continue chatting with your friends via Messenger after the broadcast ends.

Live With 

Last year Facebook started rolling out the ability for public figures to go live with a guest. It’s now available for all profiles and Pages on iOS. 

‘Live With’ lets you invite a friend into your live video so you can hang out or for marketers conduct an interview.

How to add somebody to your live video? Click here for details.

Facebook Live with Friends


Snapchat launches custom Snapchat Stories

The new feature allows you to create stories with friends rather than by yourself.

Like with regular Stories, videos and photos in a custom Story will display for 24 hours, and a custom Story will stay active until no one has contributed to it for 24 hours.

To create a custom Story, you tap “Create Story” in the Stories screen on Snapchat, name the Story, designate who can add to it, and then add images or videos.

jsbsnapsThe designated contributors will then be able to add to it. Custom Stories will appear the My Story section.

You can be a contributor to an unlimited number of custom Stories simultaneously, but you can only have three that you’ve created running at any one time.

Who wants to collaborate with jsbsnaps on a custom story? Add me! 


A teenager in Belfast is charged under the Malicious Communications Act after he made the comments on social media following the Manchester terrorist attack.

The Malicious Communications Act, which also applies to online communication, is a British Act of Parliament that makes it illegal to “send or deliver letters or other articles for the purpose of causing distress or anxiety”.

The teen has been charged with improper use of a public electronic communications network. He is expected to appear before Belfast Magistrates Court next month.

In 2014, 694 people were found guilty of offences under the Act in the UK.


Interview | Eoghan Murphy & Bobby Burke

Bobby BurkeI Interview Eoghan Murphy, The Galway Gamer host on Flirt FM and also presenter & content creator on Hit-StartNow.com. You’ll find Eoghan’s D-Pad Dad’s first article HERE. Also, you can Galway Gamer on Facebook HERE (he’s live Thursdays at 2pm).

I also interview my son Bobby about why he loves gaming and why he wants to start online gaming. 

Tune in to the podcast to hear Eoghan and Bobby’s answers to my questions below.

Questions for Bobby:

Q1: Tell me about why love you gaming so much?
Q2: What is your favourite games?
Q3: You’ve been asking me to allow you to join the Xbox online gaming hub. Tell me about it.
Q4: Why do you want to join online gamers?

Questions for Eoghan:

Q1: Online gaming is becoming increasingly popular among children and teenagers, with 36% of children in Ireland playing online with other people in 2014, compared with 30% in 2011. This figure is surely set to grow, should parents approach gaming with fear or be empowered by educating themselves? Do you think kids will do it anyway? 

Q2: According to the 2014 Net Children Go Mobile research, 6.4% of 9-10 year olds who use the internet have been bullied on a gaming website. 3% of 9-16 year olds have experienced bullying on a gaming website, making gaming websites the second most common place for cyber bullying, after social networking services. Will these statistics instil fear in parents and what can they do to protect their children from gaming cyberbullying?

Q3: You’ve been gaming for most of your life and have made a career out of it. Please demystify some of the fear and offer positives?

Q4: How does a parent decide on an age-appropriate game?

Q5: Are there any gaming communities that are safe for children to engage in?

Meet Eoghan, The Galway Gamer



Ask JSB brings the voices of my listeners onto the show. So you now have an opportunity to ask me a question, have it aired on the podcast and I will respond.

If you want to hear your voice on JSB Talks Digital simply log on to digitaltraining.ie/askjsb and you might find yourself and your question on air!

In today’s special show on online gaming, I ask questions on behalf of all parents, but Eoghan will answer them. 

  • What age is age appropriate for gaming?
  • What do parents need to look out for when children asking to join online gaming hubs?
  • So what games do you recommend for 7 year olds?

D-Pad Dad is a new blog from Eoghan on HitStartNow.com It’s about juggling and gaming and parenting so be sure to check it out! 


Shout-Outs: Three digital citizenship tips to help you protect your child online

In this part of the show I give shout-outs to brands, organisations or individuals whose work online is remarkable and worth talking about. 

Online gaming is currently the biggest selling-point of most video game genres, to a point where the classic single player experience has been pushed into the background in most games. 

Online has also taken over the space which couch players used to occupy, meaning that most gaming interactions are now done with strangers as opposed to the player sitting next to you. 

With the online experience playing such a prominent role, it’s important to ensure that your child is safe while playing their favourite games. 

In this week’s shout-outs we look at three organisations shedding a little light into the gaming online.


1) Laya Healthcare – Online Gaming Safety with Dr. Maureen Griffen

Forensic psychologist and lecturer at University College Cork, Dr. Maureen Griffen has covered many social issues throughout her career. However she takes a specific interest in the impact of online offending and safety. In a collaboration video with Laya Healthcare on YouTube, Dr. Griffen explains a few simple steps which parents can use to ensure their child’s safety while gaming online. 

From checking the game’s case or download information to ensure that the game in question is suitable for younger players to keeping the gaming device in plain sight to ensure that you, as a parent, can watch over the gaming session and the activities that you child in engaging in therein. 

Dr. Griffen’s seven tips provide an easy way to supervise your child while playing online, even if you are not tech savvy.


2) Internet Matters

Internet Matters specialise in online safety. Now celebrating three years online, Internet Matters tackle a barrage of different online activities via their YouTube channel and their website. 

In their video “Online Gaming Safety Tips to Keep Kids Safe” Internet Matters teams up with OurFamiyLife.co.uk to look at an array of different measures you can take to ensure your child’s safety. 

Presenter, Adele, tells a story of how should found her daughter chatting to grown men while playing Xbox Live. 

She then gives a step by step tutorial of how to activate the consoles built in features that will allow to prohibit certain activities; for example the Xbox 360 and Xbox One can have options that will block games that are not age appropriate, limit online activity, activate the machine’s family timer and more. 

The video ends with Adele feeling more empowered about the console, as she now knows that these options are available.

For more information about console settings, go to InternetMatters.org – hover over “Controls” at the top of the page and click on the “Entertainment and Search Engines” option from the dropdown menu. 

At the bottom of the page you’ll find a row of games consoles spanning each of the Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo’s relevant online machines. 

Click the appropriate console can you can then scan the device’s parental options. There is also a download option which allows you to take the tutorial with you.


3) Everybody Plays

EverybodyPlays.co.uk is a news/reviews site covering upcoming and recently released video games. However, unlike most gaming sites, this one is focused on being a parent’s guide to what’s going on in gaming. 

Reviews and articles are colour coded for your convenience. Red articles are focused on gaming for a more mature audience, cracking the occasional joke and looking in-depth into the gameplay. 

Blue articles, on the other hand, are there as quick and easy read-ups for parents. Here the piece will be written in a different style, ensuring that it’s not too heavy and that you don’t have to know the difference between analogue sticks and motion controls to understand whether or not this title would be suitable for your child. As well as giving a brief overview of what to expect from the game, 

EverybodyPlays will also mark the game out of five depending on its complexity, further giving you, the parent, control over whether or not you believe this game would suite your child.

Another unique feature on this sire is the ability to quickly scan games for your child via their age group. Click on the “Game Finder” option on the top of the screen, choose the machine you’re looking to play on, choose the complexity of game by your child’s age (from 3 years old to 11), select whether or not you want you’d like the game to have any mature content, and then push the “Find Perfect Game” button. From here, the site does the wok for you. 

Not only will it select an array of appropriate games for you child, it will also give you links to EverybodyPlays’ parental reviews of these titles. 


JSB’s Column | Online Gaming: Child’s play or a predators playground?

Joanne Sweeney-Burke - Our CEO

Gaming is big business. In fact it was worth €244 million euro to the Irish economy in 2016. It’s growth rate is about 7% on the previous year and I expect that upwards trend to continue. 

But what is the social and personal impact of gaming and is it just child’s play for our children or should we shudder at the thought of predators targeting our children? 

This column probably leads on very nicely from last week’s when I spoke about parental responsibility and social media. I find myself somewhat in the same boat when it comes to online gaming. 

When Sophie was growing up in the 90s she wanted to dress dolls up online with Stardoll. I remember we had a dial-up connection but she had the patience to wait for the site to load! But it’s a different story with Bobby. There is no dial-up, Internet access is instant and at seven he wants to join an online gaming hub and compete against his peers. He’s looking for competitive edge and to improve his gaming skills. 

As you can tell from my interview with Bobby and Eoghan, they are both very passionate about gaming. So it got me thinking… am I equipped with enough knowledge to make decisions about Bobby’s gaming habits?

This question in fact, prompted the theme of this podcast. 

The Entertainment Rating Board which rates the age-appropriateness of games for children has a useful guide on their website about how families can discuss online gaming. 


Tips I have taken to parent wisely when making decisions around Bobby’s gaming habits. 

1. CHECK THE RATING OF THE GAMES: Rating Categories suggest age appropriateness for games and apps via six age-based rating categories: The back of the games also have icons which depict violent, bag language, horror and more so look out for those.

2. EDUCATE: Making Bobby aware that he should never tell anyone he doesn’t know his real name, passwords, financial data, birthdate, home address, phone numbers, school or your work place.

3. CYBER ETIQUETTE: Teaching Bobby to be thoughtful and cautious about the information and permissions he provides when registering on a game’s website or mobile app. Although given his age now I will do this for him. But it’s never too early to give good advice! You should also check the game’s privacy policy to get the detail of how information is used.

4. CERTIFIED GAMES: I have shown Bobby the the ESRB Privacy Certified logo which provides assurance that a game’s website or app is collecting data that is compliant with privacy laws and best practices. Find those logos on the website associated with this podcast.

5. ACCURATE DOB: You should always enter accurate birthdates for your children when requested. Entering an inaccurate birth date may nullify security measures taken by developers or website operators that are designed to block the collection of your child’s personal information and the inappropriate targeting of advertisements.

Use the device settings and monitoring tools to:

  • Disable in-app purchases (or restrict them by requiring entry of your password)
  • Turn off location tracking (which may limit certain games’ or apps’ functionality)
  • Limit online access and/or data usage
  • Enforce homework or bedtime hours (not included on all devices)

6. REPORT CYBERBULLYING: Cyberbullying is a reality for many children. I have daily digital conversations with Bobby to make sure he knows he can come talk to me if he ever experiences bullying online.


If like me you want to learn more here are some links that will help you inform yourself about your children’s gaming habits.

Age Rating and Game Reviews:

  • Pan European Game Information (advice on age ratings and suitability of games): pegi.info/en/index/

Reporting or Blocking Players

If you want to learn more about parental controls for the most popular consoles check out: 

Education is empowerment and it is our job to parent and protect and it is only with knowledge that we can do this. 


Social Media Tool of the Week: Twitch

Twitch - Online GamingWhen it comes to gaming, is probably the number one app that every player’s phone needs. Just like the desktop version, Twitch allows gamers to stream their play sessions live online for the world to see. 

This allows for any amount of different game styles to be viewed, as it’s the broadcasters choice what they wish to stream. Couple this with the fact that the streamer can also add on-the-fly commentary throughout the game and Twitch becomes a hugely entertaining app.

From here viewers can interact with the gamer in real time via a comments section that appears below the video stream. This, coupled with the commentary, opens opportunities for the streamer to really show off their personality; not just their in-game skills. Twitch is by far the most popular  streaming app in video game history. It’s used by games companied to display their upcoming titles, international tournament organisers to show off the skill and intensity of gaming tournaments. 

However twitch is not exclusive to the higher ups and bigwigs of the industry. Instead it’s available to every player by being integrated into the Playstation 4 console, meaning that every person who owns this machine could potentially be an online streamer.

When you begin broadcasting via Twitch, your smartphone will spring to life displaying options to instantly share your live stream throughout your selected social media accounts. When the broadcast is over you can export the footage directly to YouTube with the touch of a button.

To download the free Twitch app simply head to the iOS App Store and search for Twitch.


I love feedback

I’d love to know what you think about this episode. So please get in touch by commenting below or tweet me @tweetsbyJSB or send me a snap to jsbsnaps.

Review JSB Talks Digital on iTunes


Listen: JSB Talks Digital | Episode #50

I would like to thank Eoghan Murphy aka The Galway Gamer for producing my podcast series and to Flirt FM on the campus of NUI, Galway where I am based for the use of their studio.

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