Massive multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs or MMOs) are as popular as ever. Games like World of Warcraft and Neverwinter are pulling in new players exponentially – players of all ages and backgrounds, from all over the world.
Online gaming is of course tons of fun, but it’s worth knowing the risks associated with it.
- The younger generation and some novice gamers may not be as savvy to the dangers of sharing passwords and personal information across massive multi-player online games.
- Online gaming gives us access to unmoderated, uncensored content in the form of “other people”. This can lead to Cyberbullying or exposure of bad language and controversial opinions.
- Be aware of hidden fees! You sometimes have to pay for certain modes or features of a game, which can be frustrating. A child may unknowingly try to sign up to these paid features, especially if your gaming account is linked up with your bank details.
- Malware is also a very real risk. It is often disguised as downloadable cheats or “coins” to help you through the game. Again, inexperienced gamers or young children may not be able to spot malware.
So, how can we make sure that we are playing it safe when it comes to online gaming?
- Play your online games only when you have a firewall and up to date antivirus software installed on your PC – this will make sure that any malicious stuff is picked up before it can do any damage.
- Only play and download games that you are confident are legitimate, and make sure you buy all games from reputable sources.
- When you create a username and password for your new game, or if you’re setting up an account on a games console, make sure you don’t include any personal information within them. Having a username like Daniel1980 gives away your name and age, which could put you at greater risk of being hacked.
- When you’re playing games online and have the opportunity to talk to others, make sure you don’t give out any personal information that might leave you susceptible to identity theft. You may well have good friends online, but it’s always better not to share your information with them, just in case.
- Make sure any cheats or aids you might want to buy to help you through the game are from somewhere trustworthy. Watch out for scams that might come through email or ads.
- If you allow your children to play online games, set ground rules and makes sure they are aware of the risks involved in sharing information with strangers. You could even set up parental controls or restrictions that mean they can only communicate an approved friends list.