Top tips for being a safe gamer

Gaming is becoming an increasingly popular pastime among a wider range of people. While not long ago it was still seen as a niche hobby, practised by a handful of few and far between dedicated players, they are now gaining traction among a wider audience and breaking down the barriers which associated video gaming with a particular age range or gender. While this is great news for game developers and the gamers themselves as it means the communities are expanding, and therefore a wider, more interesting range of games will become available, it’s also important to keep some safety precautions in mind when you start gaming.

This is important for any type of activity you conduct online, but it’s perhaps all the more important when you’re gaming as a hobby. That’s because you log onto platforms on a daily basis and interact with a large number of unknown players, which could leave you vulnerable to cyber risks. Here are some tips you can follow to minimise the possibility of encountering anything unpleasant that could put a damper on your gaming experience.

Update your system

When you use outdated software, you’re more likely to be vulnerable in the face of digital threats. This is why it’s important to keep up with all the upgrades you have to do. Make sure to install all the updates released by the software manufacturer. They contain patches that help identify and remove errors and viruses. This is particularly important as a computer that hasn’t had the necessary upgrades won’t even be able to recognise a threat, let alone quarantine and get rid of it. Even if a virus does infect your device, upgraded software will be better equipped to deal with it so your private information isn’t compromised and you can go back to your daily activities as soon as possible.

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You may also want to consider installing VPN and using it when you game, particularly if you tend to play using public internet connections. You have no way of knowing how many people are using the network at the same time as you, nor who they are and what their intentions are. VPN helps keep your data secure in any situation.

Antivirus

It should go without saying that using antivirus is an incredibly important part of your cyber security. Indeed, with the amount of hazards present online, you shouldn’t do any time of web browsing until you’ve got a reliable shield set in place. It’s important to remember, however, that not all software is created equal. In order to ensure you get the best protection available, visit 2GO Software for a reliable source of trustworthy programs that’ll do the job well. One of the best choices available on the market when antivirus is concerned, is the Norton 360, one of the latest security solutions from the renowned brand. It works on all types of gadgets, including PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones, and protects your system against all types of threats, whether phishing, spyware, or any other malware that would try to infringe your operating system.

When you use a strong antivirus, you can be certain to be fully protected in the face of digital threats. Even when you use rusted sources for your game, your computer can still be compromised by a hacker sending infected material in a group chat, for example, posing it to be completely harmless, or even helpful material.

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Protect your identity

There are many hackers looking for the personal credentials of as many individuals as possible. They use this information to create false identities and gain access to different services in your name. they may access your medical history and be able to get procedures or medicine in your name, or they may start bank accounts using your details. This is a very troublesome situation, and while solving it is not impossible, it is definitely quite difficult. It may also take a significant amount of time until you get the green light that everything is ok.

For this reason, you can never be too careful with the way you handle your personal details in the online space. Make sure your username doesn’t give away any personal details, such as your name or date of birth. Any of this information can make it easier for a malicious player to figure out who you are. If you must have a profile picture attached to your account, be sure it’s not a selfie, as it becomes much easier to identify a person once you know what they look like.

Stand up to bullying

The safety precautions you should have in mind are not only related to the integrity of your computer, but also your peace of mind and emotional health. Cyberbullying is unfortunately not an unheard of problem in many online communities. If a fellow gamer does something that makes you uncomfortable, you should refrain from responding to them, although it can be tempting. Block them to ensure they won’t interact with you again. If they make other accounts to continue harassing you, you should report them.

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You should also be sure that you treat everyone with respect. And if you see someone else becoming the target of bullying, stand up for them. If the cyberbully sees they’re not alone, they’re more likely than not to drop the matter and quit making a fuss.

Take breaks

Gaming can be addictive, so much is easy to understand. Much like all other parts of the internet, it can be easy to lose track of time when you’re online and then, when you look to check the time you notice that it’s been quite a few hours since you sat down to play. It’s not an uncommon problem, but just because it’s widespread doesn’t make it any less destructive. Sitting down and playing non-stop can cause health problems, leaving you with eye strain and vision problems, as well as an aching back and joints. You may also come down with damage to the fingers and wrists due to the repetitive motions associated with playing.

If you notice you’re having an increasingly harder time stepping away from the screen, it may be a sign you should talk to a professional. Similarly, if gaming is affecting your real-life relationships and you spend less and less time with your friends, it can also signal that you need to step away from the games for a while. Whether you need a short break to rest your eyes or a longer one that’ll help you reconnect with friends you’ve not interacted with in a while, you’ll notice that it’s actually likely to also improve your game-play when you return.

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