Due to stay-at-home orders brought about by the ongoing health crisis, many people have turned to game to cope, pass the time, and connect with friends. True enough, this has accelerated the meteoric rise of the online gaming industry. At present, titles like Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto now have at least 100 million players clocking in over a billion hours of monthly playtime. But while online gaming may seem completely harmless, there are still some risks in this digital space, and it’s up to players to be responsible.
5 Best Safety and Security Tips for Online Gamers
That being said, here are a few things to keep in mind to make your online gaming as safe as possible:
#1. Keep your personal details private
Revealing too much personal information increases the risk of stalking, identity theft, and phishing attempts. Protecting yourself isn’t just a matter of not having your real name in your profile or password — it also means buying from trusted online stores and securing your store accounts. Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible to make it harder for hackers to attempt to log in. Having an encrypted network also gives you an extra layer of protection as it keeps information such as bank details and locations safe.
#2. Equip yourself with anti-virus software
There will always be some vulnerabilities when using third-party applications like games, which can be taken advantage of by malware. While you can avoid clicking on sketchy links or visiting dodgy sites, it might not be enough to protect you. To that end, security software like the Bitdefender Total Security 2021 does its job without bombarding you with alerts and notifications while you’re in the middle of a game. Keeping your games updated also helps, since some of those updates fix vulnerabilities in the game that can allow attackers to infiltrate your system.
#3. Use chat rooms responsibly
Aside from being a source of entertainment, online games are now also used as an opportunity to mingle and socialize with others. In fact, according to Gala Bingo’s guide to online bingo, many social games now come with themed chat rooms and the option to play alongside friends. It’s a great way to connect with people from all over the world. However, chat rooms, especially if they are not private, can also house cyberbullies who may harass other players. Fortunately, many games offer ways to report these behaviors to the game’s developers, support team, or moderator. In these instances, be sure to document these incidents for proof.
#4. Set a time to disconnect
Gaming is often done to unwind, but it’s important to take breaks while playing as well. Video Game Alternatives’ discussion on taking breaks from games suggests taking a 5-10-minute breather every hour, or when you’re feeling frustrated. After all, even the best players can feel down when they get too aggressive about losing to the game. But beyond that, it’s important to set time for other things aside from gaming. Without restrictions, your gaming can cut into real-life responsibilities such as chores and work. Find other interests, such as reading, that you like enough to balance your gaming hobby.
#5. Choose the original game over pirated versions
A pirated copy of the game won’t allow you to update to the latest version, and there won’t be any support from the upcoming updates that would enhance your gaming experience. Installing a pirated game also means putting your computer at risk of being attacked by malware that might be embedded in the pirated game files. Plus, buying the original game will mean getting the full (and safer) gaming experience. Not to mention, you won’t be breaking the law and violating intellectual property rights.
A better gaming experience isn’t just about what happens in the game — it’s also about putting in the effort to make it as safe as possible.