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Online gaming could expose kids to vulgar, X-Rated content

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What if we told you your child is learning explicit language in your own home, whether or not you use it?
   
If your kids play video games online, they could be exposed to racial and homosexual slurs, vulgar language and X-rated content each and every day.

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Inside the world of online gaming, being anonymous means anything goes, even for kids. It might seem innocent to some, but when the headphones go on and your child goes online, he or she is introduced to a whole new world, where the rules of society don't necessarily apply. "Everything is completely anonymous, so people can just say whatever they want with no consequences, and it's not acceptable in today's society to be a racist bigot," Bailey Housman, a teen gamer says.

Listening in one afternoon as a "gamer" played "Call of Duty"- a game rated "M" for Mature, we heard children and teens, playing with adults online. Children cursing like adults, and even worse, language so shocking, it's difficult to sensor. "Hey dude, you sound real stupid when you cuss." Teen responds, "You know what you sound like, you sound like a little ***bleep---bleep ---bleep."

Racial slurs, gay slurs and graphic sexual comments, all from a teen, while playing the game online with a child on the other end.

Brian Housman, author of "Tech Savvy Parenting" says people who play video games online sometimes forget social etiquette, and teens and young children with impressionable ears may think the language they hear while playing video games is "ok."  He says the gaming industry has done a good job of "rating" video games, and that's not the problem. "We've got to make hard choices about what we allow our children to take part in." He says parents have to stay involved in everything their children do, including monitoring video-game use.

Housman's teenage son, Bailey, loves playing video games. Bailey is allowed to play games like "Call of Duty" online, but with restrictions. Housman says parents can set up the gaming system in the family room area, where mom and dad are accessible and see what's going on. "Even from time to time, when they're playing with headphones on, come in and just say, who are you playing with right now?"

He and his wife also set time limits on their son's videogame "play" each day. He suggests parents of younger children only allow kids to play with family friends online.

Bailey, who says he plays with his microphone "OFF" most days, discourages parents from "shutting down" the family's gaming device. "Many of the gamers are just guys like me, perfectly peaceable people who use it to escape for a few hours."

Still, parenting experts like Bailey's dad say it's important for parents to remember - as little voices and little ears enter the "big" world of online gaming, some of the lessons they learn with the headphones "ON" can be troubling.

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