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Huckleberries Online

Thu., Feb. 10, 2011, 1 p.m.

Digital world poses safety issues for kids

(from left) Katelyn, Jakob and Matt Finney play video games in the game room on La Dame du Lac Friday, July 20, 2007.  Their dad, boat builder Fred Finney, has built the luxury houseboat for their family and it features state of the art electronics throughout.  JESSE TINSLEY The Spokesman-Review (Jesse Spokesman-revi / The Spokesman-Review)
(from left) Katelyn, Jakob and Matt Finney play video games in the game room on La Dame du Lac Friday, July 20, 2007. Their dad, boat builder Fred Finney, has built the luxury houseboat for their family and it features state of the art electronics throughout. JESSE TINSLEY The Spokesman-Review (Jesse Spokesman-revi / The Spokesman-Review)

Jakob and Matt Finney play video games in the game room on La Dame du Lac Friday, July 20, 2007.

COEUR d'ALENE - Hannah Masters recalls walking past her son's bedroom, and hearing what sounded like a party going on.

"It was just him in there, alone with the Xbox Live," Masters said.

Like many gaming systems, Xbox Live allows players to compete against other players from anywhere in the world while connected to the Internet.

"I realized then that he had this whole other world that he was spending time in, where I didn't know what was really going on," said Masters, the mother of two middle school-age boys.

Young gamers are often doing more than wandering through Hogwarts Castle when they're playing Lego Harry Potter or as they jam along with Rock Band 3. They can also chat online while they're playing games, and they can do that with anyone anywhere also.

It's something that happens on many devices children often use, Masters said.

"If it has two batteries and a plug, chances are it can be connected to the Internet," she said.

Masters' concern about her own child's online activities grew when her son received a cell phone call at 10 p.m. one night last summer, and she discovered he had taken his phone to bed with him. He told her he was sleeping with the phone because he didn't want to miss a call.

That didn't sit well with Masters. Maureen Donlan, Cda Press  Full story.

X-box live has caused some problems in our house. I am not a fan. My 16 year-old son is and thinks if he pays for it, he should have it.

Are you concerned about kids gaming or chatting with strangers online?




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Cindy Hval
Cindy Hval is a freelance columnist for the Voices neighborhood sections. Her Front Porch column appears twice a month in the Thursday Voice.