Online gaming can be a fun way to pass the time, learn and even socialize and connect with others. Playing online games is an activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, genders and lifestyles. There are so many types of online games for you to choose from that there’s literally something that will appeal to everyone.
But just how safe are you when you play online games? Can you trust the site from where you download or play it directly from your browser? Can you trust that the games your children play do not contain inappropriate content that you don’t want young eyes to see? The best way to improve your safety is to improve your knowledge about the industry and learn how keep a clean computer and/or mobile device.
Here are 5 important online game safety tips that every gamer should know.
Understand the various types of games
One of the most important tips for parents and for any gamer for that matter, is to know that the Entertainment Software Rating Board is responsible for assigning age and content ratings for video games and mobile apps. This board breakdowns various types of games in the following categories: Boxed Games, Digital Downloads, Mobile Storefronts, Subscription, “Free-to-play” and “Freemium”, and Social Networking Games. Research these categories to gain a better understanding of the types of games within each.
Know what games your children are playing
Your children are entitled to some privacy but this privacy doesn’t extend to the games that they play. If your child wants to hide a game they’re playing, you can pretty much guarantee it’s not for any positive reason. Check the ratings of the games your kids play and teach them the importance of protecting their personal information (e.g. not revealing their real name to other users, using an avatar instead of a real picture of themselves, etc.), creating strong and complex passwords, and encouraging them to report cyber bullying or other inappropriate behavior of other gamers.
Keep a clean machine. Before you start playing games or your children do, make sure that your computer is free from viruses, worms, and other malicious software by protecting it with reputable anti-virus and anti-malware software. According to an article by the US Department of Homeland Security, gamers should also be aware of insecure or compromised gamer servers. The trouble is that if software on game servers have been compromised, computers that connect to it can be compromised as well.
Limit playing time
Regardless if it’s you playing online games or your child, be sure to limit the time you spend playing. It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re having fun with game, but there’s more to life than gaming. Don’t let this activity become an addiction. Set time limits to help ensure it remains a healthy and enjoyable part of your life and not a problem.