THE murder of Breck Bednar by Grays teenager Lewis Daynes will provoke many awkward conversations with teenagers about the dangers of online gaming.

It should be said that playing video games online does have some plus points.

Teenagers who are hooked on Fortnite are playing safely at home instead of hanging around the streets in danger of getting into drugs and gang activity.

My son’s teacher has suggested he is encouraged to play popular games, in moderation, to help him make friends and overcome his shyness.
Some games are inherently violent in nature, and children mature at different rates.

Parents need to monitor their children to see if what they are playing is influencing them negatively.

The biggest danger for young gamers comes with the use of voice chat.

Players with the right equipment can talk to each other, and if they are wearing headphones, their parents will not know what their children are hearing.

Unfortunately even the mildest of games seem to provoke a torrent of swearing and threatening behaviour in voice chat.

Breck’s murder highlights an even darker side.

A medium that allows people to talk directly to children will, inevitably, be used by people who seek to lure children into meeting in the real world.

Games consoles have parental controls built in. Don’t let your teens convince you they need voice chat enabled to play.