BY LAURA STEPHENSON: Online gaming has never been more popular. The gaming industry is a vast economic powerhouse with people from all over the world, tapping into the system to play. It is a great way to play and connect with other people. Someone from Manchester could be playing shoulder to shoulder with someone from Rio de Janeiro, both enjoying this mutually beneficial gaming platform. Social games are not merely isolated to ordinary games, you can connect with people to play in online casinos, and other betting games and it can be great fun. Like anything else, though, these things are not without risk. You may feel as if you have best friends all over the world, but the reality is you don’t. Don’t allow anyone to pressure you to make that extra-large bet, for example, or anything else you may not be entirely comfortable with.
Here are our top tips for playing safe online:
If you want the best gaming experience, then you need to do unto others as you would have done unto yourself. In other words, be friendly and polite, and it will be reciprocated. Follow this rule, and you will avoid upsetting anyone and making many faceless enemies.
Keep your personal data and information to yourself. Do not disclose your full name, address, mobile number. Revealing too much private details about yourself could make you vulnerable to those who have ulterior motives, and they are out there. It may also be a good idea to use an avatar instead of a picture of yourself, to give you an air of mystery which means you are less able to be manipulated. So, please be discreet.
If someone upsets you or makes you feel uncomfortable, you have the power to block them. There are various ways to do this depending on the game, but usually, you can go to their profile and just click block and report user. You need to protect yourself. So, you need to look out for things such as:
- People who make over the top sexual remarks.
- Anyone who pressures you to chat in private.
- Someone who continually flatters you and makes you feel great. This could be a warning that they intend to manipulate into doing things you don’t want to do later on.
- They are a lot older than you.
- If they are overly aggressive.
- They put too much pressure on you, and try to make you feel guilty for not listening to them.
You have been warned. Think about it. It may be worth your while blocking anyone who makes you feel this way.
Meeting in person
This is an important one because until you actually meet someone in person, you still do not know who they are. Treat the situation with caution. If you have made the decision to meet someone in person it may be an idea to meet in a public place, perhaps, take someone with you, and please let someone know where you are.
Firewalls and privacy software
Does your computer have the correct antivirus and firewall protection? You could run this risk of your computer ending up with a virus. If this is the case, seek professional help, for example, Hero Support Apple Repairs and get that computer back to gaming standards. Invest in some decent protection software.
Ensure you take time out every hour or so. Some of the games are really intense, and you will need some time to recoup and recover. This will also protect you against developing problems such as RSI (repetitive strain injury).
What you can do as a parent to protect your child
Okay, so you are aware that your child is playing online and they could be playing with anyone. This is not exactly the best feeling. But, everyone seems to be doing it. It is actually a very normal pastime and can help your child develop skills such as hand-eye coordination, memory, and problem-solving. However, here are some ways to protect your child:
- Get involved and try and understand the games they are playing.
- Check the age ratings of the games. The content of the game may not be appropriate at all.
- In-app purchases. You can disable in-app purchases on a smart-phone, and you should be able to apply a pin to stop them disabling it.
- Use the parental controls where you can limit the time spent playing, who your child plays with etc.
Although there are obviously some clear dangers of online gaming, for the most part, it is a fun experience with some clear cut benefits. So enjoy yourself but beware of anything that just does not feel right.