Though many parents may be skeptical about their teen’s passion for video gaming (and the seemingly extensive number of hours they play them), they might be surprised—and even impressed—by the economic opportunities brought about by gaming, especially in competitive esports. And perhaps the most eye-poppingly impressive statistic parents and their college-bound kids should be aware of is the tremendous amount of esports scholarships available for college: $16 million according to the most recent data!
Below, we provide several tips for gamers who want to take their hobby to the next level and help them pay for their college education through esports.
When combined with their own skills and many hours of playing on Northern Lights Fiber’s advanced fiber network—the fastest, most reliable internet a gamer can utilize—these tips may help students outperform the competition and get a well-merited scholarship for their future.
Tip 1: Join a Gaming Club and/or Compete for a Spot on a High School Esports Team
If possible, join a gaming club and/or compete for a spot on a high school esports team. Joining a gaming club or playing on a high school esports team puts you in direct contact with players you’re not used to playing against, which are probably your friends and other family members. Those players already know your abilities and weaknesses—and you know theirs.
Thus, to truly get ahead, you need to start playing against different people, and in a more competitive arena. Joining a gaming club can start you on the road to more competitive play, improved tactics and skills, and to college-level esports.
Similarly high school gaming teams provide an environment comparable to competitive esports at the collegiate and professional levels. They also teach additional gaming skills and techniques you might not be well versed in, introduce you to other games you haven’t yet mastered, and give you actual tournament experience—all the factors, in short, that collegiate teams are looking for and that improve your chances of achieving an esports scholarship.
Tip 2: Record Your Gaming Sessions
As you continue to hone your gaming skills and gain more experience playing competitively, we recommend you record your gameplay. It’s simple to do and there are many apps available to create recordings of your games, so check out their features and make a few practice recordings.
Recording your gaming sessions lets you see your progress—and learn from your own mistakes. It also gives you the opportunity to “show off” your skills and achievements to others and gain feedback from them, too. Even more importantly, esports recruiters, especially coaches, will want to see examples of your esports play (see Tips 3 and 4, below).
Tip 3: Create an Esports “Highlight Reel”
Having tested your mettle in a gaming club or on a team, and recorded and reviewed your sessions to improve your gameplay, consider creating a highlight reel of your best gaming experiences. This is similar to what other high school athletes in other sports like football and basketball do. It takes some time to learn to edit and splice a highlight reel, but it’s a useful skill for self-marketing—and for other areas of life, too.
But don’t just think of a highlight reel as a braggadocious ego-trip. An esports highlight reel can be used to pique the attention of esports recruiters and coaches, who are always scoping out rising talent and who need a quick pitch that stands out from the rest of the pack.
Tip 4: Reach Out to College Esports Coaches
Dedicated esports players should attempt to contact esports coaches as early as they can during their college search and application process—preferably even before the application and scholarship process begins, if possible. While esports coaches and recruiters follow Twitch and similar esports platforms to find and assess players, would-be esports scholarship winners should take the initiative and reach out directly to coaches.
Putting yourself on an esports coach’s radar early—and continuing to share progress, achievements and wins with them through your highlight reels—can have an enormous impact on scholarship success. Be confident and assertive in your communications with coaches, but don’t overdo it, either. Striking the right balance between self-confidence and humility is also key, so be mindful of your approach.
Tip 5: Think Beyond the Game
Finally, remember that most colleges aren’t just looking to train professional gamers. Indeed, many colleges award esports scholarships to gamers with tangential interests like video production, coding and programming, graphics design, and marketing.
Resourceful applicants should highlight these gaming-related interests, and any experience they may have in them in their college and scholarship applications and essays. These additional interests and experiences help candidates stand out—and may just be the decisive factor.
By joining up with other gamers you don’t usually play against, competing on high school teams, improving your gameplay, and showing off your talents online and to coaches, you’re well on your way to winning an esports scholarship. Above all, stay positive, keep challenging yourself, and keep playing!
With Northern Lights Fiber’s fast fiber network, you’ve got the speeds and the bandwidth to handle just about any game. And with any luck—and some hard work—all that distortion-free gameplay may pay off in the form of a generous esports scholarship, too!
Follow Northern Lights Fiber’s social pages to keep up with esports and to learn more about online gaming. And feel free to reach out to our friendly experts if you’re interested in an upgrade to make your gaming experience even better!
If you’re like most parents, you may feel frustrated when something as innocent and simple as turning on your smart TV can display gory images from ads for horror movies or suggestions for suggestive—or even outright raunchy—content on the home screen before you even navigate to your preferred apps and platforms.
While parental controls within streaming platforms don’t kick in until you open their apps, there is good news: Many smart TVs have parental control options and settings built right into their operating systems.
Below we discuss some of the settings parents can make on many of the most popular brands of smart TVs. Combining these parental controls on smart TVs with in-app settings enhances protection—and gives peace-of-mind to parents as they and their families enjoy Northern Lights Fiber’s high-speed fiber internet and pristine streaming quality!
Smart TV’s With Parental Control Settings
We begin with popular smart TVs that have parental control settings: LG and Samsung, as well as Google TV, which is preinstalled on many well-known smart TV brands such as Sony. Many other brands, including Fire TV, offer similar parental controls (and similar ways of establishing them), so we present these brands as models for exploring your options.
In general, you can search for safety, security and parental controls in the Settings Menu of any of the models below. Some brands include more features than others, so check each of them out carefully before buying a new model.
LG Smart TV’s
Most LG smart TVs made over the last several years have a few key features to help parents feel more comfortable about letting their children use their television. Specifically, parents can lock channels out entirely, block visual and sound content of certain channels, block programming with certain TV content ratings, and even block access to particular apps. LG also lets parents block inputs to other devices as well, giving an extra layer of protection against “work-arounds” a clever child may attempt.
LG uses the most common way smart TVs enable parental controls: the establishment of a PIN and passwords. Parents simply need to set up a PIN to create and manage the protections—and make sure they don’t share that PIN or password with their child! Though it’s probably obvious, be sure to choose a PIN or password that your child isn’t already aware of or cannot easily guess.
Set up is easy: simply navigate to the Settings symbol on the Menu, then click on System Settings, then to Safety Settings, and establish the password or PIN. From there, you can block channels or apps or block out content based on content ratings.
Google TV (Preinstalled on many Sony, TCL, and Hisense Smart TV models)
Next on our list is the increasingly popular Google TV, an operating system that is preferred by many customers for its easy integration within the Google ecosystem of apps and smart home devices, like Google Nest. You can find Google TV on many brands of popular smart TVs, including Hisense, Sony, and TCL, and on some Chromecast models.
Google TV has an option many parents will immediately appreciate: the ability to establish Restricted Profiles. Through Google TV’s Restricted Profiles, you can set content restrictions and limit what younger members of your family can watch when on their profile.
The only “downside” to Google TV’s approach is that parents (or any older viewer) need to remember to set the TV back to “Restricted Profiles” whenever the parent’s “unrestricted” use is complete. That way, when your children turn on the TV, they will immediately be in the Restricted Profile, with all the protections and limitations you previously established for their profile.
Lastly, we consider Samsung, another popular smart TV. Like the LG smart TV discussed above, Samsung also lets parents set up a PIN or password to block channels or limit content to particular ratings.
Just follow these simple steps: First, head to your Menu and go to Settings. From there select Broadcasting, and then choose Program Rating Lock Settings. Next, create your PIN. Finally, choose your settings and limitations.
Other Parental Protections to Consider
Beyond setting up parental controls, PINs, restricted profiles and other limitations and protections within a smart TV, parents should also remember that there are other steps they can take as well. Most apps, like Netflix, have built in parental settings, including user profiles. These profiles can be set to filter content that is less-than kid-appropriate, while still allowing other users to stream what they want in their own PIN-protected profile.
Additionally, streaming sticks and boxes also have parental control settings and options, beyond just the individual apps. Recall that streaming sticks and boxes can turn any TV with an HDMI connection into a smart TV. Roku and Apple TV are two ever-popular streaming devices, and both have settings and restrictions parents can implement.
Protect IQ and Experience IQ from Northern Lights Fiber
Northern Lights Fiber’s ProtectIQ and ExperienceIQ are like superheroes for parents managing Smart TVs. ProtectIQ protects your devices from viruses, blocks malicious sites, and keeps sensitive info secure from cyber criminals – and from little eyes. And ExperienceIQ? It’s the sidekick that makes everything easy to manage from anywhere. With ExperienceIQ, parents can set time limits for their kids to watch, game, or use social sites online. You can filter apps and websites, monitor household/family online usage, and more. So, with these awesome features, you can relax knowing you’ve got the tools to create a safe and fun TV zone just right for your family! Just ask us about adding the ProtectIQ/ExperienceIQ bundle to your new or existing internet plan from Northern Lights Fiber.
By employing these recommendations, parents can breathe a bit more easily as they stream on Northern Lights Fiber’s advanced fiber network. And for more tips on staying safe online, follow Northern Lights Fiber’s social pages!