"Online gaming devices are just like a computer and a lot of parents don't realize that. There are messaging, chat and IM features.
Using an Xbox, you can receive messages from any of the major platforms.
Even if you're in the game, somebody who has your game ID or screen name can send a text message to you and it will pop up on the screen and you can chat just like you do on a computer."
— Chad Gallagher, Child Exploitation Squad, F
We can hardly observe children playing outside with friends as it has been decades before. Do you have any ideas what is going on? You are quite right, if you suggest them playing online. After inventing of computer games and especially online games, more and more children of all ages (and even adults) are involved in the virtual world of playing online.
A philosophical question arises after the meteoric development of the gaming system: ‘’ Are online games good or somehow bad for our children and us?’’ One won’t probably find an exact answer to it as it will depend on the individual habits of playing online games.
What is an online game? What does it stand for?
The term is defined as a kind video-games played via an internet connection. Thus, a few players can be involved into the gaming process, even if they are from different spots of the world. Online games can be played on various devices: personal computers, tablets, game consoles and laptops. They are also of different types as targeted at various people and their preferences.
How to identify the content of the game?
Every parents who take care of their children thoroughly are concerned about the content they can view while playing online games. Fortunately, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rates the games according to special criteria. Any parent can easily check how the game is rated by visiting ESRB site. They need to enter the game title, choose the platform and view the results of the search.
Their game ratings are based on three main parts:
- Rating categories which define whether the game’s content is appropriate for this or that age group.
- Content descriptors identify which material may be of concern.
- Interactive Elements inform about interactive aspects of a product.
Enabling safety on gaming gadgets
Various gaming devices provide options to turn on the security for players. It is especially prominent to know for parents whose children are crazy about games.
Gaming consoles allow to activate safety configurations, such as time limitations and blocking of the inappropriate content. Moreover, parents are able to alter which players their children can communicate with.
Computers as well as the consoles are provided with built-in settings, like a parental control. If one plays online, and the game implies some kind of communicating, it is necessary to understand that these communications are not traced while gaming. Nevertheless, a person can decide not to interact properly in order to become a victim of potential bullying which can lead to negative outcomes especially for childish minds.
What are the risks connected with online gaming?
- You might obtain game which is a pirated version. As a result you may get into troubles of being fined for copyright violation.
- Having downloaded a free game, one may be asked to pay for enjoying the whole version of it.
- If the game is not free of charge, your credentials might be imposed to being compromised by online hackers.
- One may become addicted if playing day and night.
…. The list can be extended, but these 4 risks are considered to essential.
How do children risk playing online?
Every child can be imposed to the same risks as the adults, but one should understand that children are not well-equipped to encounter them neither technically not psychologically. Children should play online games under parents’ control in order to prevent negative outcomes concerning with bullying online and malware files. Moreover, children can become easily game-addicts if they play them too much.
How to play online safely?
- Set limit and security setting children when they enjoy online games.
- Avoid opening strange letters which can be potential scams when you buy any online game.
- Ensure that you soft foe gaming is updated as not all the apps download updates automatically.
- Do not reveal any of your personal information when creating a user name.
- Create a password which is hard to crack.
- Do not share your personal data with the other players in the game.
- Use only an authorized and licensed version of the game.
- Buy game content only from reputable sources.
- Protect your computer system against malicious files with antivirus software.
Another basic thing is that any time one plays online games, internet connection should be protected by means of security tools. What can it be? It is possible to take advantage of Tors, Proxy servers or VPN services, for instance. All the technologies mentioned above are based on the anonymity and safety of internet sessions. All of them have the peculiarities of applying for different purposes.
As far as online gaming is concerned, a VPN service is stated to be more beneficial as it provides not only privacy on the network, but also encrypt the traffic transferred on the virtual space which can prevent leaking of personal information when buying a game online or creating a user account on the gaming website. What is more, certain VPN services are equipped with additional features to protect internet connections, such as kill-switch or DNS Leak Protection.
The conclusion is that one should keep an eye open playing games online as the Internet is full of risks: scams, hackers, malware, online bullying and other negative things. If you have read the article up to the end, you know now what things you need to pay attention when playing online. Take care of yourself online!