Gaming can take you on epic adventures, forge life-long friendships, and offer opportunities for creativity and fun each time you play. However, it’s important to be aware of the safety tools and settings available when gaming online.
I believe that gaming should be inclusive of all, accessible to all, and safe for all.
Regardless of age, gender, or nationality we can all be victims of many different forms of internet scams, bullies, harassment, and “grooming“ to name a few.
With that being said, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss internet and gaming safety once again. One way I’ve chosen to bring this advice and information that’s relatable was to reach out to our community of GoW players. We asked them to share their expertise, advice, and experiences to remind us all that even our beloved GoW can have predators lurking.
By remaining vigilant and sharing this type of information we can all help make gaming fun for everyone.
When discussing information about online threats, it’s important to understand who are the primary targets. That’s easy, everyone can be a target. What I learned in doing the research for this article is that different genders and ages are all targeted differently.
Generally, we see children or very young people mostly targeted in a sexual type of way.
Women, while also targeted for sexual reasons, are also victims of such things as “Romance Scams” which are also known as Dating Scams; these Dating Scams are used to manipulate people into sending money to their romantic partner. They are also often targeted for financial gain in games or by people who simply enjoy manipulating or causing fear. There are other reasons but those three seem to be most prevalent.
Men are absolutely not excluded as targets. Men are often targeted for financial gain by women, men posing as women, or individuals posing as children needing money or game packs to name a few.
Below, I’ve listed the top tips and experienced that I’ve gathered from available expert sources.
Secure Your Gaming and Store Accounts
When using online stores or gaming networks that store your financial details and personal data, you’ll want to:
- Secure your accounts with a strong password.
- Enable two-factor authentication where possible.
- Avoid using the same password you’ve used elsewhere. Never use the same as your game password.
- Never share login details with others.
- Remember to logout when finished.
- Use a credit card with a very low limit for these purchases, or a separate bank account with minimal funds.
If you really want peace of mind, you can use prepaid credit cards or gift cards when buying online instead of using your everyday credit or debit card details. Keep available balances on these low for the least amount of risk of loss.
While on the topic of in-game purchases, another point of importance is regarding what’s called a loader to make purchases for you at a discounted price. There are several risks associated with doing this.
Firstly, in most games, it’s prohibited to share your login information. There are individuals that load packs, and will then refund the purchase through whatever means they made it.
These individuals now have full access to your account and could, and in some cases have stolen accounts. All of these actions and others could get you banned from your game. So now you would be out the money and you’d lose your game account. You’re personal email and data could also be at risk if you did not have the appropriate safety checks in place.
Keep Your Personal Details Private
I can’t stress this enough. Beware of oversharing or revealing too much when playing games online. Keep your personal details as private as possible when communicating with fellow players, especially those you don’t know well. This can help reduce the risk of abuse, harassment or stalking, and even identity theft and phishing attempts.
Just because someone says they’re a male or female or perhaps an older person or maybe a youngster doesn’t mean they are. They may show you photos of people they want you to believe are them, they may even go as far as telling you life experiences (all fictitious) to further qualify their false persona.
All these types of things are often meant to gain your trust. Once they’ve accomplished this it’s easy to persuade you to share personal information, persuade you to lend them money, or buy packs in the case of gaming.
Don’t Encourage Trolls and Bad Behavior
Don’t engage with anyone who harasses you or is being abusive. The more you react, the more likely it is that they will continue. Instead, report their behavior to the game developer, the game’s support team, or a moderator. If possible, document and screenshot any abuse so you can provide credible proof of the incident. That way proper action can be taken fast and without too much hassle.
Immediately block this individual from contacting you. Speak to your alliance leaders and ask that they block this individual from your alliance or posting on alliance walls. Make your teammates aware of this player that is harassing you and most likely others.
Do not think or be fooled that this person being inappropriate or abusive is in need of someone to listen or befriend them. If they have emotional disorders there are qualified physicians and physiologists available to help. YOU CANNOT HELP THESE PEOPLE.
Choose A Safe Username
Make sure your nickname does not include your:
- Real name
- School’s or college’s name
- Date of birth
- Address or the town you live
- Mobile number
- Nothing that can relate to you personally
When it comes to using a Profile Picture in social media apps or in certain games, you can always use photos or a graphic that doesn’t show your face. If you do use a personal picture, think about whether it shows anything that could be used to identify you, like your workplace or company crest on a shirt or hat, school logo, or your street name.
When you create your account, it’s a good idea to make sure you use a strong password. Your password should never include your name, date of birth, phone number, or anything that can be discovered in casual conversation. Keep it random or something that could absolutely never be something you’d talk about like your deceased great grandmother’s phone number.
Think About Who You’re Playing With
Most online games are open to everyone, which means you could be playing with people much younger or older than you. There are people from different countries, with religious beliefs, cultures, and so on. You might also be much better or worse at the game than the people you’re playing with.
Be respectful of others. The fact that your account is better or worse than someone else’s is irrelevant in how you should be treated or treat others. Often big egos or treating others badly can cause a person to lash out and start being inappropriate due to the way they were treated by another player or players.
Here’s another great article on social site safety you can check out written by my teammate.
Be Careful What You Share
Games are a great way to make friends online. But it’s important to think about how much you’re sharing about yourself.
Be careful about sharing personal details, like your address, phone number, where you work, go to school, or your full name. Even if you only share a few small things over time, someone might be able to use it to find out more about you. Many tips in point #2 apply here as well as the following.
Remember, when playing with people online or communicating as part of social apps:
- You can report and block anyone who’s abusive, threatening, or who tries to bully you.
- People may not always be honest about who they are.
- Be careful of scams, and don’t accept gifts or offers that seem too good to be true.
- Be nice to the people you’re playing with, even if they’re not as good at the game.
- You can be certain that males, females, and children are all equal targets of predators.
There can be times when people use games to ask others to share sexual pictures or nudes. People who do this might make you feel like you can trust them, ask you to keep things secret, or give you compliments or gifts. This is a tactic online predators use called grooming.
When you share something online, even in a private message, you lose control of it. If you’re talking to someone online and they’ve asked you to share sexual images or personal details, you need to be absolutely certain this is someone you trust first. Speak to others that you do trust whether they know this person or have ever had conversations with them. Whatever the path you choose, always think twice then think again before hitting that send button. Once that message or photo is sent it’s within the receiver’s control to do with it as they please including sharing with others or on other websites and social media apps.
“It could also be good practice before sharing with anyone to see how this player is spoken of by other active players. I understand that gossip and lies sometimes play a part but chances are that if 9/10 players have something negative to say about another player in the game… there is truth to it.” – Lil Miss V
Check Your Privacy Settings
Changing your privacy settings can affect who can see if you’re online, who you can make contact with you and whether people can see what you are saying.
Most devices have different options to help maintain your privacy as well like blocking your location.
Lots of people like to play for as long as they can without stopping. But taking short breaks when you’re playing games can help you to stay healthier and stop you from getting bored. Gaming addiction is as real as any other habitual addiction such as gambling. Keeping real life as a priority and limiting the time you dedicate to gaming can help avoid this.
Try taking a break if you’re:
- Not enjoying the game as much as you were when you started.
- If you are getting angry or upset at other people or the game.
- If you are feeling tired or hungry.
- Very importantly, starting to ignore things you need to do, like family time, work, school work, or regular daily responsibilities.
- It’s affecting a healthy sleep pattern.
Everyday life should never be set aside for games or online relationships. Games are a form of entertainment like watching a movie or playing cards or board games with family or friends. Ensure you are not allowing a game to take over your life priorities. When or if this appears to be occurring it’s time to take a break. It’s possible an addiction is forming. Be sure to get up and stretch often, put down the device and move around. Get a snack, glass of water, or complete a task or chore that needs to be done.
First and foremost as with anything we do in life, whether it’s work, family, or entertainment, stay safe, stay healthy and look out for yourself. Research the websites that provide information on the game you play, read blogs and reviews. Speak to people that are involved with cybersecurity or check out the information available to you online, play within your means and never let an online game take over your life and consume more of you personally than it should. Keep it fun. Keep it real. Keep it in its proper place.
I want to thank all who were kind enough to share their experiences with me and all of you. Big shout out to LilMissV for her help and inspiration to put this article together.
Come Share Your Tips and Suggestions!
RealTips has Line rooms, a Facebook page, and a Discord Channel. Do not be the only one that is not a part of the RealTips community! Be sure to check out our social media pages to connect with other GoW players and get the best tips on how to play!
Make sure to Like our content and if you want to stay up to date with our new releases, connect with us on Game of War Real Tips – Home | Facebook or chat with us on our Discord and Line channels!