woman teaching her son on computer

As a parent, undoubtedly, you’ve heard many times of the many challenges your kids can face when playing video games on the internet or while using social media for networking or for gaming. There are all types of threats targeting the kids in the online gaming world, like hackers, cyberbullies, trolls, and even predators.

In some extreme cases, the risks can lead to doxing, where a threat actor publishes a victim’s personal information like name, number, and address on the internet, among other information. In even more extreme cases, the risks can lead to swatting, where gamers file a false emergency complaint against another gamer, triggering a life-threatening police response.

Of course, the solution is not to ban video games at home. Video games can help kids develop new skills like creativity and complex problem solving. Through games, kids can also form lasting friendships. But there are a few steps you can take to make gaming safer for your child:

Learn From Online Safety Guides for Parents

Research from the best resources can help. A good internet safety for kids guide can arm you with the knowledge you need to make cyberspace safer in general for your family.

Secure Your Computer and Devices

Bad actors on gaming platforms can use malicious software like viruses, spyware, and Trojans to threaten someone’s security. Let’s look at some quick tips to secure your computers and devices from malware:

  • Download anti-malware software that shields your systems from unwanted programs.
  • Activate your computer’s firewall to defend your network from threats.
  • Activate your router’s firewall for an extra barrier.
  • Download the latest security updates for your operating system to patch flaws that malware can exploit.

Teach Your Kids About Gaming Threat Vectors

  • Always download games from legitimate platforms like Steam, PSN, and Xbox network. Avoid unlicensed platforms like unofficial cd key stores. Please check reviews even when downloading from authorized platforms as many malicious mobile apps make their way to stores like Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
  • Avoid games from filesharing platforms like Torrent sites. They often host games that carry apps infected with dangerous malware like rootkits. A hacker can use a rootkit to take over a computer and open a backdoor for privacy-invading malware like stalkerware.

Don’t Engage with Trolls

Like the real world, kids should avoid engaging with suspicious or aggressive people on the internet. They should just enjoy the game and only talk to real friends online. In addition, kids shouldn’t share personal information on the internet, even if it seems harmless. Bad actors are adept at piecing together bits of information to learn more about someone.

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Not only does a VPN encrypt data, but it hides your IP address. It’s easy to see another gamer’s IP address on many platforms. Using that information, a hacker could locate you or run various scams. When looking for a VPN, don’t use free ones as they use old technology and may even spy on you. Find a fast private VPN that uses the latest WireGuard protocol for speed and security.

It can be overwhelming to think about your child’s online safety. But with a bit of information and the best security tools, your kid can reap all the benefits of online gaming while staying safe.


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