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New Twitter Data Underlines the Emergence of Gaming – and Marketers Need to Take Note

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If you’re not paying attention to the influence of gaming on modern culture, you’re missing out on maybe the biggest shift in how the next generation connects.

Gaming is set to become a $196 billion market by 2022, and five of the top 10 channels on YouTube in 2019 were directly connected to the gaming community. Gaming is fast emerging beyond a subculture, with gaming crews like FaZe Clan helping to take it mainstream. Even rapper Travis Scott recently launched his latest music via a transformative live event in Fortnite, which saw 12.3 million concurrent viewers logged in to take part. 

And amid the COVID-19 lockdowns, gaming is getting even bigger, even faster. Again, if you’re not paying attention, you should be, because it could provide you with new opportunities for branding and outreach within gaming spaces.

Underlining this, this week, Twitter has released new data on the evolving gaming conversation on its platform.

As per Twitter:

In 2019 we had over 1.2 billion Tweets about video games, and now in 2020, the gaming conversation on Twitter is bigger than ever. In fact, in the second half of March, we’ve seen a 71% increase in conversation volume and a 38% increase in unique authors compared to the first half of the month. In the US alone, there has been an 89% spike in conversation with a 50% increase in unique authors over the same time period.”

That makes sense – more people are spending more time at home, and are looking for things to keep them occupied. But it’s worth considering how that level of engagement will impact ongoing trends, and how younger audiences, in particular are learning to connect through such. 

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Indeed, new event types are being formed as a result of the lockdowns – this week, a concert called ‘Block by Blockwest‘ is being held within Minecraft, with major acts like Massive Attack and Pussy Riot taking part.

These types of innovative, adaptive uses of gaming are providing entirely new perspectives – imagine if your first concert experience was via Minecraft? That would certainly have an influence on how you view the same moving forward – and with virtual reality also on the rise, it’s, again, worth noting the significance of the gaming shift.

In terms of specific games leading the way, Twitter says that Animal Crossing has gained the most traction during COVID-19, with other new releases and mainstays making the top 10 list.

Twitter gaming insights

Gaming presents a range of new potential opportunities and considerations – and with live, virtual events getting far more focus during the lockdowns, it may be worth considering how you can utilize gaming, or in-game events, in your digital marketing approach, or how your products and services may hold appeal to growing gaming audiences and use-cases.

This will only become bigger. As games get more advanced, and connection tools more immersive, people will look to gaming more and more to engage. And as noted, this current period could spark a transformative shift in how people interact. The trends and habits formed during COVID-19 could lead to a massive shift in how the next generation looks to meet-up, attend social events, and more.

It’s a truly limitless arena, and with the next generation of consumers already here, maybe you should be too.  

Socialmediatoday.com

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Expert shares advice for keeping children safe online

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The arrival of the mobile internet on the island in 2018 has revolutionized the way people express discontent and organize themselves in a one-party state known for its dislike of dissent

The arrival of the mobile internet on the island in 2018 has revolutionized the way people express discontent and organize themselves in a one-party state known for its dislike of dissent – Copyright AFP Yasuyoshi CHIBA

Keeping all electronic devices in one room is a measure that can be taken in order to protect your child online. Children have more access to screen time than ever before, in particular, access to the Internet. Hence, Internet safety has become an increasingly worrying problem amongst parents.

Internet expert Allison Troutner from VPNOverview.com tells Digital Journal about the best ways to keep your child safe online.

Consider a family ‘tech agreement’

Troutner  advises: “One way to set ground rules with your child is to create a Family Tech Agreement. A family tech agreement answers as many questions as possible about internet and device use so boundaries are clear to all family members. It’s a good way for the whole family to talk about safe and responsible online behaviours.”

To create a family agreement, discuss topics like:

•           What apps, games, or sites does the family use most?

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•           What rules do we want to include in our agreement?

•           How long should we spend on our devices?

•           What information is safe to share (or not)?

•           What do we do if we see something inappropriate?

•           What email address do we use to sign up for accounts?

•           Do we know how to use in-app safety features like blocking and reporting?

•           Who can we talk to if we feel uncomfortable with something online?

•           Who is safe to talk to?

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•           What happens when someone breaks the agreement?

•           When might parents be forced to break the agreement for safety?

Troutner advises: “This is a starting point: your family may discuss more topics on Internet safety for kids depending on the ages of your child or teens and what devices you use.”

Report any harmful content that you see

Troutner  recommends: “Flag or report all harmful content or contact you or your child experiences using social media apps using in-app reporting features. For cybercrimes, cyberbullying, or harmful content, use in-app features like Twitter’s safe mode to report it. Most social media companies have their own safety and privacy policies and will investigate and block content or users. Apps geared towards kids, like Facebook Messenger Kids, have clear guidelines and safety features so that users can block content or contacts and have a safer experience in the app.”

Balance safety with independence

Troutner cautions: “Technical controls can be a useful way to protect your children online but they can’t solve all your problems. Children need a certain amount of freedom and privacy to develop healthily. They need their own free space to learn by trial and error what works and what doesn’t. So keep balancing, it’s part of it. Having open and honest conversations with your children can be the best way to balance this safety.”

Keep the computer in a common space

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Troutner states: “If possible, keep computers and devices in a common space so you can keep an eye on activity. It prevents children from doing things that might be risky. Also, if harmful or inappropriate content appears through messages, you can address it with your child straight away.”

Password-protect all accounts and devices

According to Troutner: “From phones to computers to apps, put a password on it. That way, no one without the password can access you or your child’s device. Keep track of passwords by using a password manager.”

Update your operating systems regularly

As a protective measure, Troutner advises: “All of your devices from mobile phones or tablets to computers and smartwatches receive important updates in response to security issues on a regular basis. Be sure to install them regularly so you have the most up-to-date security fixes and remain safe online. Our recommendation is to set updates to install automatically so your device is less vulnerable to known attacks. Usually, you can find this feature in Settings, then select Automatic Updates, but it varies between devices.”

Install security or antivirus software programs and a VPN on your computer

Troutner puts forward: “Additionally, cybersecurity or antivirus software programs prevent spyware or viruses that may harm your computer if your child visits a malicious site. Using these programs, parents can also set up regular virus checks and deep system scans to make sure there is no harmful activity happening under your nose.”

He adds: “A VPN hides users’ internet activity from snoops and spoofs your location. This protects your kids by making sure hackers or predators can’t detect their actual location. You can install a VPN on your router so that the location is spoofed on all connected devices.”

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Set parental controls

Troutner  states: “It may seem obvious, but parental controls are crucial to your child’s safety online. Parent controls are built-in features included on devices and apps. With these features, parents customise their child’s online experience. What parental controls are available on each device or app varies, but in general, they limit screen time, restrict content, and enhance user privacy.”

Features of parental controls include:

•           Limit screen time.

•           Turn off in-app purchasing.

•           Prevent inappropriate or mature content.

•           Limit website access.

•           Play, message, or send/receive content with approved contacts only.

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•           Monitor device location through GPS.

Troutner  concludes, emphasising: “Take time to look at what parental controls are available on your child’s commonly used apps. Then, set them to reflect the type of experience you think is best for your child or teen’s online safety.”

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