What is RuneScape?
RuneScape is a popular Internet game played by thousands of kids, teens and adults. This MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) is similar to others of its kind in that a player is represented by an avatar that interacts with other users' avatars by chatting or playing mini games together as part of the larger RuneScape game. Winning these games and completing specific tasks allows a player to progress to higher levels.
Concerns for Parents
Players are able to send messages either to all players in their location or directly to specific players. The message is automatically edited by a computerized content filter for vulgar or sexually explicit language. Words that are caught by the filter are replaced with asterisks before being displayed on the screen. This is a good attempt to keep language suitable for all ages, but many players are able to get around the content filter by misspelling swear words or adding spaces between the letters of swear words.
The content filter also removes all links that are sent via chat messages. Many players still try to advertise their websites by putting spaces between the characters of their message. (For example: g o o g l e . c o m.) Some of these websites may contain inappropriate content.
RuneScape allows the player to customize the appearance of their avatar. This also gives the player the choice whether to be male or female. Parents should be aware that their children may be playing with people who are misrepresenting their own gender and/or misrepresenting their age in their avatar.
Players are encouraged to cooperate with other players and build connections with online friends. While this can be positive for players wanting to find an online social community, this can encourage addictive habbits and also allow for more targetted cyberbullying.
How Can I Keep My Child Safe?
- Be aware of who your child is interacting with in the game. While most players in the game are just trying to have fun, some of them may try to get your child to reveal personal information (such as where they live, how old they are, etc.) that is not necessary in any way to enjoy the game.
- Make sure your child is not becoming addicted to this or other online games. If necessary, monitor or limit your child's gaming in order to prevent potentially harmful gaming habits from forming.
- Check with your children to make sure they are not victims of cyberbullying while playing, either from strangers or from friend in real life. Help children understand that any kind of harassment online is not acceptable.
Where Can I Learn More?
- Here is a list of safety tips compiled by an experienced RuneScape player.
- Here's a review examining RuneScape's appropriateness for kids, tweens, and teens.
- You may also want to take a look at this wikiHow article entitled How to Follow Online Safety and Security Guidelines on RuneScape.