Online gaming is a popular form of entertainment for people of all ages. Many games have online servers, where players around the world can play the game together. We appreciate our sponsor Germantown, TN Parking Lot Striping co for helping us publish this article today.

While this sounds fun in principle, in actual practice online gaming can present many dangers. There’s no reason not to play games online, but there are some precautions that should be taken. Here are a few hidden dangers in the world of online gaming, and ways to keep safe.

Privacy

This is true across the entire internet. It’s important to keep private information private, or else cybercriminals might be able to take advantage of the information you share.

Online games will have gamers create a username. It’s important not to use your real name for this, as this will make it easier to track you down. Also, make sure not to mention your age or location in any profiles you set up for online gaming. It may seem innocent to share a few pieces of personal information here and there, but cybercriminals are adept at piecing this information together. So keep your private information private, and be careful what you choose to share.

Cyberbullying

Children and adults can and have all been victims of cyberbullying. The thing about being online is that while it provides an escape from your day to day life, it does the same for these bullies. It’s much easier for them to brazenly bully others, since they have some added anonymity protecting them.

Cyberbullying can and has been incredibly psychologically damaging to those that experience it. Whether it’s by purposely keeping other players from enjoying the game, or by sending cruel and hurtful messages, cyberbullying has real life consequences.

Sometimes, cyberbullying can escalate to seriously dangerous levels. Death threats and doxing are potential outcomes of serious cyberbullying. Doxing is the publishing of someone’s private information online, which is incredibly dangerous.

If you experience cyberbullying online, remember that most games and servers have black and report harassment options. Remember to use them, and don’t put yourself in danger by trying to confront these bullies yourself.

Predators and False Identities

Lots of games have the option of using your console’s microphone to speak to other players. But just being able to hear someone’s voice doesn’t mean that you know them.

Because of their popularity, online games are a great tool for online predators to find victims. They may try to build a relationship with you to gain your trust.

Just remember that you don’t actually know the people on the other side of the screen. Scammers and predators abound online, so take basic safety precautions when talking to other online gamers. Don’t share your personal information, and don’t send money or gifts to anyone you’ve never met in real life.

Viruses and Malware

Viruses might be sent to you via in-game attachments. They could also come from the game itself. These viruses or worms are used to infect your computer with malware or spyware. Malware is software designed to cause damage to your computer, while spyware is made to steal information from you.

Make sure not to open any attachment from people you don’t know. If you’re downloading a new game, make sure it’s from a reputable developer. Viruses, worms, and malware can cause serious damage to your computer, and can compromise your personal information. So be cautious with anything you download or any attachments sent to you.

Unsecure Game Servers

If a game’s online servers are not secured or become compromised for whatever reason, this poses a risk to all users. Hackers or malicious users might exploit these compromised or unsecure servers to take control of your computer. Once they do, they might be able to use your computer to attack other computers. Alternatively, they could install malware to damage your computer, or spyware to spy on and steal your personal information.

The best way to prevent this is to make sure you have antivirus and antispyware software installed. And make sure that you are always keeping this software up to date. Creators of malware and cybercriminals are constantly finding new ways to exploit weaknesses in servers. The creators of antivirus and antispyware software must in turn update their software to make sure it remains functional.

So update your software regularly, or set the software to update automatically, so you don’t even have to think about it.

Online gaming can be a really fun way to escape the daily stressors of life. But like everything else online, there are basic preventative measure that need to be taken.

Make sure to never share personal information so you can avoid scams and identity theft. Keep all antivirus software updated, and block any cyberbullies immediately. If the game you’re playing has a report harassment option, make sure to use that too.

As long as you follow these steps, your online gaming experience will be safe and fun!

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What Are the Hidden Dangers of Online Gaming?