There are thousands of games available online these days that people can download or play through game consoles, computers and mobile phones. While it can be fun and entertaining, people should also be aware of the dangers they can bring, especially to children.
What are the risks of online gaming?
- Cyberbullying & Online Grooming: Most multiplayer online games often include a chat feature where players can interact with each other over the internet, either through text or voice chat, while playing the game and this in turn can lead to sexual harassment or cyberbullying.
- Gaming Addiction: Online games have developed rapidly over the last few years, becoming more immersive with their story lines, actions, graphic visuals, sound effects and online interaction features. When players become addicted, they spend many hours playing and this can affect the players psychologically and physically. Some of the effects include restlessness, becoming anti-social and violent.
- Identity Fraud & Phishing: Some games, if not most, allow their players to build a profile, where players fill in their personal information similar to social networking. This can be risky as people over the internet can steal your information and pretend to be you. This also increases the risk of being a phishing victim, as this same information can be used to access your bank account, for instance.
Protect yourself and your children from these risks
- Cyberbullying & Online Grooming: Limit your interactions with other players. Try to avoid conversations that deviate away from the game. Many games provide ways of reporting toxic behaviours and rude language so make sure to report users who behave badly.
- Gaming addiction: Try to limit and schedule your time for playing games. Another tip is to get another hobby to fill time other than spending time solely on playing games. Parents should be aware of the location of the gaming consoles and computers. Keep them at places where you can easily monitor and supervise, such as the living room.
- Identity Fraud & Phishing: Never post personal information online whenever asked. If personal information is required to play the game, try as much as possible not to give out your information such as your real name and contact number. Do not reveal your personal information to other players even if they sound harmless because you still don’t know them, they’re anonymous. They could be sexual predators.