What Parents need to know about Clash of Clans

clash clan iconMy 10-year-old has been begging to join Clash of Clans. I knew a lot of his friends were playing the game but I had not really looked at it. I told him one rainy day we would sit down together and check out Clash of Clans. A few weeks ago, as the rain drops fell, I sat down for a tour and he wrote a review. So, first my son will tell you about the game and why kids loves it then I will fill you in on what you need to know.

From my 10-year-old:

Clash of clans is game where you build a base, train troops and attack others bases, or play single player. If you win, you get trophies, which moves you up in leagues. What league you are in is based on how many trophies you have. You lose trophies if you lose an attack or someone attacks you when you’re not playing. The leagues are bronze, silver, gold, masters and champions.

In order to join a clan, you need to get 40,000 in gold to rebuild your clan castle. You get gold by building or updating your gold mines. When you finish your clan castle you join a clan so members of your clan can donate you troops. You can also go into a clan war which is where you battle other clans.

Kids like clash of clans because you get to build a base and attack other clans and people. I like building a base because you can make just the way you like it and if you start to not like your base  you can change any time you like. Kids also like interacting with people in your clan and on the global chat because you can work together to make a good clan and win clan wars and everyone loves attacking because it is just fun.”

 

I agree Clash of the Clans is a fun game. Kids get to create a village as well as plan battle strategies. The rating on iTunes is 9+ due to cartoon violence. The game does collect some personal information so it requires users to be at least 13 years old. We had to initially connect using my Google+ profile. After logging in, we were able to go in to settings and disconnect these accounts so my friends were not bombarded with Clash of Clan updates.

clash clans setting

We haven’t downloaded a new game in a while and it was interesting watching my son set up Clash of Clans. He wanted to quickly blow through every screen and was willing to agree to anything to get to the game. Fortunately, the first and second level are single player only so they can’t get in to too much trouble. Once they are past the second level, they can switch to multiplayer, choose a username and chat with other members. This is when parents need to step in.

clash clans player

All players can chat in Global Chat. This chat is moderated and asterisks are used to screen swear words. While we were playing we saw mostly messages begging for players to join their clan and a few asking for Kik usernames. Players can mute other players. Muting a player means you cannot see their messages but they can still see you. You can also report a player for inappropriate messages. Players who receive 7 reports are banned for 24 hours. Not your most robust reporting system.

clash clans report player

Once kids have rebuilt their clan castle, they can join a clan. Parents should be involved in their kid choosing a clan. Kids can chat with just members of their clan in Clan Chat. While Global Chat is moderated, Clan Chat is not. Clan members can say anything and it is up to the leaders of the clan to police the chat. Some clans do have rules such as no swearing and all clan members must be invited while other clans are open to everyone and allow everything. Clan members cannot mute or report other members but the leader of the clan can remove members. When looking for a clan, kids should either join a clan with their friends or form their own clan and invite friends and family to join.

Another area, some kids may run into trouble is in app purchases. Kids can buy additional gems in the store. The minimum purchase is $4.99 for a pile of gems. When they try to buy gems the game asks for a payment options or to redeem a code. To me, it appears pretty obvious this is real money but kids have racked up in app purchases believing this is only play money. To be safe, parents should turn off  in app purchases. There is quite a bit of free stuff in the shop so kids can enjoy the game without buying more gems.

clash clan store 2

Finally, parents should know that Clash of Clans never sleeps. Every morning my son wakes up to a device full of notifications about raids and battles. This is a game that wants constant attention. Parents should set up some ground rules and time limits from the get go. Clash of Clans is challenging and a fun game but it is not kids only. This is a game for adults. Parents should talk to their kids about proper messaging, keeping their personal information private and remind them to come to you with any questions.

ESRB_app_1a Tornado

Tips and Settings for New Game Consoles

esrb family picThis holiday season, sales of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are over 2 million each. After December, many families will have a new gaming console. Experts are finding kids playing age-appropriate games can have social as well as cognitive benefits. The important piece is for parents to make sure kids are playing the right game and staying safe. To help parents this holiday season, the ESRB has come out with tips for families.

Before playing a game, parents should investigate the controls on their new consoles. Many consoles allow parents to restrict games based on their ESRB rating, as well as set the amount of time kids can play and who they can communicate with online. To set the limits that are right for your family, the ESRB offers instructions for the Xbox One/Xbox 360, PlayStation 4 and 3, and the Wii U.

No setting is full proof. While searching the web for parental controls, I found just as many videos and website explaining how to bypass family settings. The best way to keep your kids safe (and make sure the parental controls are still in place) is to sit down and play a game with them.

The ESRB offers these 5 tips for choosing great games and staying safe online.

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