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Online Gaming Risks and Kids: What to Know and How to Protect Them

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  • Online Gaming Risks and Kids: What to Know and How to Protect Them

    Online games aren’t new. Consumers have been playing them since as early as 1960. However, the market is evolving—games that used to require the computing power of dedicated desktops can now be powered by smartphones, and online gaming participation has skyrocketed. This unfortunately means that the dangers of online gaming have evolved as well. We’ve examined the top threats that parents need to know about to keep their kids safe while gaming online.

    Online Bullying and Harassment
    A recent study shows that 65% of players who participate in online gaming have been harassed; a statistic that does not bode well for underage gamers. Your first instinct may be to try to prevent your child from participating in online gaming altogether, but this may cause them to sneak playing time without your knowledge. A stronger choice would be to talk with your kids and prepare them for the types of negative behavior they may experience online, and to make sure they know they can come to you if they are being harassed. It’s also important to explain the impact that online bullying can have on others, and to set firm consequences if you catch your child participating in harassment or abusive language. Regulating the use of headsets can help prevent both your child’s exposure to and participation in online harassment.

    Two types of harassment specific to online experiences go a step beyond what you would expect from online bullying: doxxing and swatting. Doxxing is when one or more online participants seek personal, identifying information on a particular user for blackmail or intimidation purposes. Doxxing can often lead to the release of real names, phone numbers, home addresses, employer information, and more. Swatting is a form of harassment that uses doxxing techniques to create an actual, tangible threat. A harasser will call in a threat to a doxxed user’s local law enforcement, often claiming there is a kidnapping or hostage situation at the victim’s address. This may bring a large SWAT response unit to descend upon the address.

    Keeping an open line of communication about your kid’s gaming experiences is critical. Swatting can happen over seemingly innocuous events. One of the most notorious examples followed a dispute over a $1.50 bet in “Call of Duty: WWII.”

    Pro tip: one is only vulnerable to doxxing and swatting if a harasser can link identifying information back to the targeted gamer. Educating your kids on digital privacy best practices is one of the strongest security measures you can take against these forms of online harassment.

    Viruses and Malware
    As with almost every digital experience, you’ll find specific cybersecurity threats associated with the online gaming landscape. We asked Tyler Moffitt, Webroot security analyst, for his thoughts on the malware threats associated with online gaming.

    “The thing kids should really watch out for with games is the temptation to cheat,” explains Moffit. “In popular games like Fortnite and PUBG, ‘aimbots’ are very common, as they allow the player to get headshots they normally wouldn’t be able to make. However, many of the aimbots that kids download from forums are packed with malware—usually ransomware or info-stealing Trojans. What’s worse: a lot of young gamers also don’t run antivirus because they think it will make the game slower.”

    The bottom line: cheating at online games isn’t just ethically icky, it makes you a proven target for hackers. Make sure your kids know the real cost of “free” cheats.

  • #2
    I believe everyone is well aware of all risks associated with online gaming. If you want to know my opinion – the first step is to choose a reliable platform for gaming. Recently, there are too many scammers around. I usually deal with sports betting and use this application for it https://betting-apps.co.za/lottoland-app/. It is fully reliable as I have tested it.

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    • #3
      I don't understand people who are basically willing to gamble for fun. Such a big risk of losing all the money does not exactly correspond to my idea of comfortable pastime.

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      • #4
        It should also be remembered that online games can provide children with entertainment, develop virtual communication skills, strategic thinking and coordination, and teach teamwork. However, it is important to monitor the time spent playing games to ensure a balance with other activities and learning. Online games can also stimulate children's interest in game development and programming. Playing games can inspire them to explore creating their own games, which helps develop computer skills and creative thinking.

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        • #5
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          • #6
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