Instead of going head-to-head with your friends after school, you can now take on literally anyone in the world, in real-time. Next-generation consoles such as Xbox360™, PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™), and Nintendo’s Wii™ give you the chance to take your game global. You can chat directly with the competition and in some cases you can speak directly to them using voice controls. But do you really know who you’re playing against?
As interactive gaming becomes more popular and younger gamers begin to use the games, online sexual predators will begin to converge and try to track them there. That’s because game-chat is the same as traditional online chatting, allowing anonymous strangers to say just about anything they want to whoever will listen. What starts as a seemingly innocent conversation about the game can quickly turn into something else. These predators try to form relationships, and might start asking for personal information like a password or email address. Don’t fall into this trap!
Before you get gaming, be aware of the safety tools built into the game or gaming system so you are armed and ready to protect yourself. Xbox 360™, for example, allows you to block people from contacting you or to “mute” those you don’t want to hear from.
But you have to think about more than just your personal safety, you also have to look out for cyber criminals. Although some games are free, others charge you a fee. This means you are paying to play, and it’s easy to get in over your head. Look out for people trying to sell you something or a third party trying to charge you for extra game amenities.
Remember these tips while gaming online: