More and more people are beginning to spend an increasing amount of time gaming.
But whether you are gaming with unknown players through the internet or playing by
yourself, it is vital to be aware of the potential risks and know how best to play safely
In 2020 alone, online gaming risks have increased by more than 50% as more
people sign on to it. This situation has placed online gamers at an increased risk
of different kinds of online attacks. Therefore, it is essential to practice gaming
safely anytime you get behind your favorite game.
So, are you uncertain whether you are safe online? Are you looking for
ways to become a safe gamer? The following tips should help.
Take the necessary safety precautions
First things first; before you start playing, be sure that you have all your
safety and health measures in place. If you are new to gaming, one thing
you will realize is that it can be a very addictive experience, and you may
end up hours behind your computer.
It is recommended to have a pair of glasses to help protect your eyes from
the adverse effects of long hours behind the screen. You can easily pick
up a new brand of eyeglasses capable of blocking harsh rays, or take
frequent breaks from your computer. During your breaks, ensure that you
stretch your muscles and rest your eyes. It is also advisable to have a
timetable, so you do not end up spending too much time behind your game.
Secure your computer
Most people prefer to play on their gaming computers for the best
gaming experience, although smartphones and tablets are also available.
But this situation also means that you need to secure your computer to
play safely. For starters, always ensure that your firewall is up-to-date to
prevent unauthorized people from hacking your computer, getting
access to your personal information, or sending your viruses. Also,
ensure that your computer and all necessary security software are
up-to-date. If you are using public Wi-Fi to play your games, then you
should get a VPN.
Report any harassment
Unfortunately, online gaming is not always fun, as online harassment
is increasingly becoming more prevalent, with 65% of online gamers
experiencing such harassment. Therefore, it is important not to allow
yourself to become a victim. Anytime a player does something that
makes you feel uncomfortable, you have every right to use the report
function and block that person afterward. You can report to your parents
if you know that person personally. Barring such a player will prevent
them from reaching you again. Also, do not respond to any player that
makes you feel uncomfortable. Responding is just a way of encouraging
them to continue harassing you.
Stick to using only your username
This security tip is especially important when playing an online game
with your friends. No matter how comfortable or safe you feel, it is
harmful to refer to your friends’ names by their real names.
Also, refrain from using your real name at any point. In short, always
stick to using only your username or usernames chosen by your friends.
You can also make a pact with your friends to only use each other’s
usernames anytime you are playing publicly.
Protect your identity
Almost all online games require players to choose their usernames.
You need to ensure that the username you choose does not give any
of your details away. For example, it is not safe to use a username
that contains your date of birth or even location. In short, do not use
any information that gives your identity away or lets unknown players
find out who you are. Indeed, some gaming experts have advised
that if you have to use an avatar or profile picture as part of your
online ID, it is not safe to use your selfie or photo of yourself.
Create a strong password
As one of several safety checks and security reasons, most
online games require players to create passwords to protect
their accounts. In some cases, the system ensures that your
password is strong enough by providing recommendations and
requirements. In cases where such conditions are provided, ensure
that your password is a mixture of special characters (where allowed),
numbers, and letters. This way, it becomes a lot more difficult for
people to guess your password or go around it. Also, ensure that the
password you chose does not contain any obvious information
such as your name, birthday, or address.
Only use sources you trust
In online gaming, just like any other online platform, some sources
are not trustworthy. Platforms such as Google Play, the
App Store, Microsoft Store, and PlayStation are the safest to use.
Try as much as possible not to download any game from any
source that you do not trust. In most cases, depending on the
security settings on your device, you will receive security alerts
about the reliability or otherwise of any source you attempt
downloading from. But to be on the safer side, only download
from trusted sources. Also, make sure that you update your
games anytime a new update is made available.
Avoid automatic hidden charges
Although many online games are free to play, there are
still a lot out there that come with some hidden charges.
Most of these hidden charges are to unlock new features and
levels in the game. To avoid making payments without your
knowledge, you can set up your console to first make requests
or ask for permission before any charge or transaction is
completed. Set your console up to make requests for your
password before any new charge is made. It is especially
crucial if your online game links to your guardian or
parent’s credit card.
Take a stand against online bullying
Aside from online harassment in gaming, another ugly
truth about online gaming is that there are also bullies or
bully accounts. Online bullying in gaming usually occurs
while a game is still ongoing and shows its ugly head in
many various forms. If you happen to experience online
bullying while enjoying your game, do not allow it to stop
you from playing. Just like online gaming harassment, you
will only end up encouraging a bully account if you pay
attention to them or reply to their taunts. The next thing to
do after ignoring them is to block them. Doing this will ensure
that they no longer have access to your account. Afterward,
go ahead and report those accounts by using the report
feature. When done successfully, it can lead to their
account being deactivated or suspended.
On the other hand, treat other gamers with the same respect
you want to receive. Do not speak with other players in a manner
that you do not want to be communicated to.
Keep all audios and videos between friends
It is always great to have the option of using your
webcam and voice chat features to communicate with your
friends when playing together, but try as much as possible to
limit these features to friends only – or anyone you already
know personally. Webcams are easy to hack when you are
online. Therefore, when playing against strangers in public,
be sure that you do not turn on your webcam feature and
neither use your audio chat option. Doing this will prevent
unauthorized players from hacking into your account and
getting visual or audio information about you. But if you
have to use those features, always ensure that you put on
a face mask to cover your identity.
Maintaining safety during gaming is very important and
helps to make your experience even better and more rewarding!
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