How to Stay Safe on Online Games
Did you know that 93% of young people aged 10-16 in the UK play video games? Online gaming can provide exciting opportunities to take you to a universe beyond our own and connect with like-minded people who share similar hobbies; by taking part in multiplayer games like Fortnite, Minecraft and League of Legends, you can develop teamwork, communication and strategic thinking skills. But it’s important to remember to keep yourself and your friends safe when playing games online.
Here are our Top Tips to Stay Safe on Online Games:
1_Don’t Share Personal Information Online
Keep personal information such as your home or school address, bank account details, full name, etc, private and be sure to pick a username that doesn’t include personal information and does not easily identify you. Don’t share photos/videos with people you don’t know or trust and make sure not to use a personal photo on your profile.
Sometimes, people say things or behave online in ways they wouldn’t offline; in online games with voice chat options, you can change your settings to mute yourself and other conversations too.
3_Block & Report the Player
If you or someone you know feels upset, uncomfortable or unsafe when taking part in online gaming, you can block the person who you are playing with. If possible, screenshot and save the evidence.
Here are some handy links on how to block and report on some of the most common gaming platforms:
1_Ask yourself ‘Who Am I Really Talking to?’
Lots of online players have nothing to hide but it’s important to remember that some people are not always who they claim to be. If something doesn’t feel right (especially if they ask for personal information), block, report and speak to a trusted adult.
2_Be wary of in-game purchases
There are hundreds of online games that you can download for free to your phone, tablet or other device. However, be wary of hidden in-game purchases which promote opportunities to advance through games more quickly; make sure to speak with a trusted adult before making any payments online and only make payments through verified methods. Never give your bank details out to someone you don’t know and trust.
3_Balance time spent online with time offline
When taking part in online games, it’s important to take regular breaks, stretch and drink plenty of water. You should also make time to speak with family and friends offline and take part in other hobbies you enjoy such as running, painting, dancing, etc.
If you are a young person in the UK, you can text DA to 85258 for free, 24/7 support on topics such as bullying behaviour (including online bullying behaviour), relationships, stress/anxiety and more.
You can also contact the Samaritans by calling for free on 116 123 and calling Childline for free on 0800 1111
Remember to have fun and stay safe online!