Over time, online gaming has earned itself a rather poor reputation mostly because of a lack of proper knowledge. In fact there are some advantages of gaming that people are not aware of. That said, there are also some legitimate concerns and threats that could emanate from online gaming. It is important to be aware of these as well; to take steps to stay safe and enjoy a positive online gaming experience.
There are several pros of online gaming
It is well established that online games of skill have positive impacts on players; ranging from quicker reaction times, enhanced eye hand coordination to better problem solving. The online gaming experience helps create social networks and enjoyable peer group experiences. Certain games could also enhance communication and resource management skills.
Online gaming can be both entertaining and rewarding – with the advent of VR and other tech advancements, more so than ever before!Statistics show that even families tend to play some types of online games together; particularly games that are educational and interactive. Hence, online gaming could be a way for families to spend time together in activities that kids as well as parents can enjoy.
Cons, threats and their solutions
Where on the one hand, there are positive outcomes of online gaming, there are some dangers that parents gamer kids and gamers themselves need to beware of:
Inappropriate content – Violent content or games with age inappropriate sexual content can be accessible even to kids. To counter this, parents should install parental control that prevents access to inappropriate games or features and limit the amount of time spent in gaming.
Predators, cyber bullies – In gaming circles as well as on social media, predatory and bullying behaviors are significant concerns. If parents are concerned about this, it is important to make kids aware of potential dangers and to constantly communicate with their kids about this. Encourage them to speak up and offer them support for any unpleasant experiences that they may have had. Adults who experience bullying or intimidating behavior should promptly report this to the appropriate authorities and seek counseling if need be.
Privacy issues – Most reputed online gaming sites already have in place the requisite security measures that protect the identity as well as the financial details of gamers. To be abundantly cautious, never save any personal information on shared computers or on computers that kids also use. It is also important to remain wary of the dodgy sites that could be a front for gambling, porn and dangerous content and to block or uninstall any apps, widgets or plug-ins that you may consciously or inadvertently have downloaded /installed.
Virus /malware attacks –Some types of online gaming could open up your device to viruses, adware, ransom ware or other harmful attacks, ranging from the merely irritating to the disastrous. To counter this, it is important to always have your virus protection up to date, install updates regularly and to run regular checks to detect and isolate possible threats. Make sure you disable pop-ups and do not click on any unknown or suspicious seeming links or ads.
Addiction – Possible gaming addiction is one of the biggest concerns people have. It is seen that addictive personalities are more likely to become addicted not only to online gaming but other harmful behaviors as well and may be more at risk. To avoid becoming addicted, parents should limit gaming time and ensure that their children have an active and varied offline life with interesting activities and close relationships. Being open and communicative with kids at all times is important. If as a gamer you find that you’re neglecting work or relationships or that other areas of life are being impacted, it may be time to get help.
Other tips to remain safe
Seek out reputable service providers that offer opportunities to play games of skill and steer clear of the shady operators who are just a flimsy cover for gambling and other illegal activities. Ensure that the online gaming website has adequate security features to keep your payment information secure and confidential.
Choose age appropriate content that matches skill levels for the safest and best experiences so that you enjoy all the advantages of online gaming without any of the dangers or threats!
This article was written exclusively for Gaming360 by Chandini Khanna