Online games can be a great source of fun and learning for the entire family. However, it is vital for parents to appreciate fully what the experience of playing these games encompasses today. Since such games are played over the internet, many include interactive and social elements such as online competitions and chats. Others give the player the ability to expand and alter the game or the character by downloading content on the internet. All parents have the responsibility of knowing and controlling what and how their children play online.Tools to ensure gaming is safe for your childFor many parents, it is a challenge trying to be informed about what their children are playing and how they are doing it. The good news is that they have various tools and resources to use to ensure gaming for their children is safe and secure. One such excellent tool is the Entertainment Software Rating Board or ESRB. This rating board offers parents with useful guidance about the age-appropriateness and content of online computer games. Additionally, all new and fun games include parental controls to allow concerned parents to have a significant control over the game their kids are playing.Figuring out the parental controlsMany parents agree that raising children now is more than challenging especially because of the kind of media the kids are exposed to. However, computer games are among the easiest form of entertainment that parents can learn to control. Parents have the responsibility of ensuring that the games their children are playing are suitable for their age. This calls for keenness and alertness especially when acquiring the game. It is important for parents to be present the first time their children set up the game so that they do not activate their own parental control settings.Beware of online interactionsThe Entertainment Software Rating Board does an amazing job when rating games. However, since these games are also played online, it is impossible to rate or predict what people will say and do online. Hence, many games caution parents that the ESRB has not rated online interactions. Your child can gain exposure to various harmful things while playing online including racial epithets, crude sexual comments, obscenities and even sexual predators. There are several tools you can use as a parent to protect your child from such things. One excellent method would be to make a deal with your child that he or she will only play online games with family and friends.