There are multiple types of games that kids are engaged in these days, including online as well as offline games. Games like PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch come under “console gaming,” while PC games are the ones that kids either download on their systems or play online.
Playing games is not entirely bad for kids as it helps them in critical thinking, but there is a definite need to monitor your child’s activities and online gaming as well. As per a report, more than 67% of US citizens play video games on one device, and around half of these play games across different platforms.
The most famous device for games is mobile phones and tablets, while the second famous device is personal computers. More than 90 percent of gamers use their smartphones or tablets for gaming; 34% exclusively use mobile phones.
Over the past few years, the online gaming field has bloomed with the introduction of AR and VR in gaming, along with several people connected over the internet to play one single game. This also a concern of security for the children that are connected on the internet for online gaming.
Playing games online is not all fun as it can put your child’s security at risk and may include theft, fraud, or even sexual violence. Let’s have a look at some top dangers of online gaming and how to protect your children from that:
1. Privacy Concerns
It is important that you educate your children about protecting their privacy and personal information while signing up for a new game. The username must not be revealing your personal information such as your name, date of birth, location, ethnicity, etc.
The cyber-criminals can manipulate the information based on the user’s personal information, which can be harmful. These criminals often spot children and try to get more information through personal messages or chat options.
Through your personal information, these cyber-attackers can also easily track your social media handles and can create fake accounts of your ID’s. Hence it is important that the usernames must not be near your original names or any other true information.
There are various types and forms of cyberbullying in online gaming. The gamers sometimes exploit anonymity, and it can be damaging and dangerous for your child. Often these cyberbullies send inappropriate and derogatory comments in chats and try to demean the kids.
These bullies use different forms of images, videos, audio messages to hurt your child and can even threaten them in different ways. Most apps have an option to block personal messages through which you can hide inappropriate messages.
3. Personal Information Concerns
Your computers, cell phones, consoles, and any other device has a lot of personal information, and you must take it seriously when you are thinking of disposing of your devices.
Many parents just give away personal computers and electronics without properly cleaning and erasing the files and data inside the devices, and it can be pretty harmful if it reaches the wrong hands. People use your data and information to blackmail you or imitate your identity.
You must carefully delete and empty your data from a system that you are looking to get rid of. Do not depend on erasing things from the recycle bin; rather, use tools that completely erase the data. You can also keep a separate hard drive and back up all your data on that.
Webcams allow people to see each other’s faces, and in online gaming, it can be a security threat. Webcam hacking is when the hackers get access to your device’s webcam and can easily see you at any time, no matter which website you are using.
These hackers can easily record your child’s activity, which is why it is important to use software that can regularly scan for any such virus or malware.
You can also regularly check the settings of your webcam and keep it off; another way to be cautious is by putting a small piece of tape to cover the camera of your device.
Online predators use gaming as a platform to get close to your child. There are different predators with different motives and can be harmful to your child’s mental health. These people can involve your child in inappropriate activities through written or visual content or even a face-to-face video interaction.
In a few cases, people try to be your child’s friend by helping them defeat the opponent in the game, and that’s how they gain the trust of your child and eventually can cause damage.
It is important to educate your child about the possibilities and monitor their interactions online.
6. Malware and Viruses
Another possible concern in online gaming is the malware and viruses that can get into your system. Multiple apps and software have viruses in them, which can lead to the potential risk of losing all your data present on your device.
It is important that you are careful about which websites you visit and the files you download on your system. These viruses are often hidden on websites that seem legitimate to baffle the audience.
- Using a strong cybersecurity system on your system
- Research about the authenticity of the game
- Read reviews and feedback before downloading anything
Multiple games offer a premium service where you can access more features, money, gold, ad-free access if you pay them for the premium version. This is a common way for apps and games to earn money through players.
For these payments, you are required to link your credit card’s information on the game, and every time you access a premium feature, the amount is automatically deducted.
This also puts you at risk of fraud and theft as hackers are constantly working towards hacking your profiles and even your credit/ debit card details. You must always be careful and avoid attaching your card to any such online gaming.]
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If you are allowing your child to play a subscription-based app, then make sure it is a legitimate app and keep checking your bank account details regularly to avoid any theft or fraud.