Gaming is one of the main things people do while online, and we must do everything we can to ensure that we’re safe and intelligent while using these spaces. Although it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and let ourselves lose sight of our own safety and personal space: it’s vital that you pay attention since poor choices can result in losses of money, time, and even your identity.
These are the top ways to stay safe while playing games online.
Chose a Careful Username
There’s a trend teenagers have followed since the birth of the internet where they’ll include their birth year in their URL, along with their name and sometimes even their favorite color. This could look like GreenKat02 or LarsonBlue92. Be aware of the fact that this immediately gives away so much information about yourself. Instead, try to pick a username based on something random, like a quote from a movie or song.
Don’t Share Personal Information.
Making friends is exciting, but you mustn’t let yourself give away too much in an effort to connect with others. Keep your personal information to yourself, and watch who overhears you. If you notice that someone is asking you personal questions, or seems extremely interested in everything you say, pump the breaks and try to figure out why. Is that behavior something you’d do while making friends in person?
Consider Who You’re Playing With
Who are you gaming with? Are these friends from school, or are they strangers who were randomly selected from the internet? If they’re strangers, don’t give away any personal info, and be aware of any phishing or malicious leading conversations they may start. It could seem innocent, but it only takes you making one mistake for them to be able to steal your identity.
Don’t Click Links From Anyone.
Links are the biggest hazard! Not only can they help them gather your IP address faster than you can google ‘what is my IP?’ but they can also allow them to download malicious content and possibly gather information about you without your consent. They can even disguise links to look like they can be trusted, but they lead somewhere else. For example, this: https://youtu.be/dQw4w9WgXcQ :may look like a simple youtube link, but because it’s one link disguised as another, it leads to the NYT. Someone with malicious intent can do this to trick you into clicking a link that will lead you somewhere you don’t want to go.
Be Wary of Mods and Downloads
Don’t download anything that’s not from a trusted source. You may assume you can trust mods because they’re community made and driven, but there’s no way to be sure that the person making them isn’t going to change the content suddenly and use it as a way to steal your information or put a virus on your computer.
Everyone Deserves a Safe Space to Enjoy Online
Whether you’re a teenager starting to game with strangers, or you’re in your thirties and want to avoid making rookie mistakes, make sure you do everything you can to protect your computer and your identity. You can still have fun online, but make sure you do so intelligently.