Online gaming is a hugely popular activity the world over, for all ages. It is one of the most common hobbies and for good reason. Gaming can be fun, rewarding and a social experience for all users. That said, there are some important safety concerns that all users, and parents of users should be aware of when indulging in online gaming. Here are some top tips to help keep you and your family safe when gaming online.
Use a savvy username
When choosing a username you want to ensure that it does not contain information that could directly link itself to you or your child. You want to try and make it as non-descript as possible so that no personal information is divulged, as this could make it easier for hackers or ill-intended users to access your account or otherwise use personal information for ill-gotten gains. Remember these basic tips when creating your username and profile
Do not include;
- Full name
- Place of education or employment
- Date of birth
- Address or location of where you live
- Phone numbers
- A profile picture that shows who you are or could otherwise identify you. Consider using an avatar instead.
- Any logos, street names, or other identifiers.
Use trusted chat servers
One of the huge benefits of online gaming is the ability to communicate with other gamers. There are platforms available such as Discord, which provides an easy-to-use communication platform that allows users to share screens when gaming, making it a hugely popular server.
One of the other benefits of servers such as these is that they are monitored and users who are found to be violating terms and conditions or otherwise engaging in unacceptable conduct will be banned from using the server.
On the flip side, this can present a problem for parents or users who have been subject to a ban for not understanding the rules correctly or perhaps conducting themselves in a manner that they were not able to appreciate would result in a ban. In this instance, there are ways in which you can uncover how to get unbanned from a Discord server. Of course this will depend on the reasons for the band in the first place.
Be mindful of what you share
Now that you have set yourself up in a trusted chat server it is important to remember that the server can only do so much to keep you or your children safe. It is therefore vital to remember that you need to be mindful of the information you are sharing online. Ultimately you do not know who you are talking to so think carefully about the personal information that you spread online.
Be mindful of who you are playing with
As most online games are open to everyone it means that you could be playing with anyone. This could be someone much younger than you, more vulnerable, or older than you. This can have several implications for how you play the game and how you communicate with those gamers. When playing with others online try to remember a few of these basic points;
- People may not always be who they say they are.
- You can report users who are abusive or otherwise threatening. Equally, you can be reported for untoward behavior,
- Be mindful of scams and do not accept gifts.
- Always play nice and remember to treat others how you wish to be treated.
Remember to take breaks
Gaming is designed to be fun and to keep you playing. You will constantly be enticed to move on to the next level or play one more round, making it all too easy to get immersed in a game and be unaware of the time you have spent playing. This has resulted in gaming addictions or users feeling as though they cannot stop playing. As with anything, it is important to instill some balance into your gaming schedule. If you are finding that your gaming is stopping you from doing other activities such as spending time with friends or tending to do ‘must do’ chores or activities then it may be a sign that you are overdoing it. Equally, if you are starting to spend more money than you feel comfortable with on gaming then it may be time to take a step back.
Be sure that you force yourself to take regular breaks, get some exercise, or grab a healthy snack. Make the effort to prevent it from interfering with other aspects of your life. Gaming is there to be enjoyed but as with everything, in moderation.
What other ways can you do to stay safe when gaming online? Let me know in the comments below!