Protecting you and your children in the world of online gaming

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With the new “Next-Gen” consoles and gaming on social media sites, you and your children are now connected to, and playing with, millions of people around the globe. Being “connected” can be a great thing — access to content, easy pay options and sharing to social media. But there is also a dark side to it. All that personal data and credit card information is very desirable to hackers and scam artists. Child predators also use gaming and social sites as their hunting grounds.

Parents worry about if a game’s content is right for their child, and rightfully so, but you also have to think about protecting your information and network from potential threats.

Infographic courtesy of Trend Micro.

Infographic courtesy of Trend Micro.

Monitoring activity
Keeping your gaming consoles in the living room or family space is a great way to monitor your children’s gaming activities. Not only can you see what they are play (is the game OK for they age) but monitor who they are playing with and what the conversation is.

Is there bad language or sexual dialogue? What information is being shared? Just having the gaming console in your family’s living space will help parents keep and eye on their children’s gaming activities.

Parental Controls
Parents have some very powerful tools at their finger tips. Most consoles have parental controls. Use them. You can limit internet access, game types, profile information, online interaction, movies and TV shows, and place time limits. These controls will not only help keep your children safe but limit access to your data.

Internet Searches
Searching for information on gaming consoles and video games can lead to bad sites. In 2013, there were 4,696 malicious websites used to steal user information. Just giving out your “gammer name” could put your personal and financial data at risk. Make sure to only visit reputable sites and do not give out your personal information.

Separate Payment Option
In 2011, 70 million accounts were affected by a breach to Sony Playstation’s servers. Using a separate credit card just for gaming and/or online purchases can help you monitor activity with your account. You can keep track of what you purchase and inform your credit card company of any purchases that you did not make.

Use the Game Ratings
This won’t help you keep your accounts safe from hackers but is important nonetheless. Video games are one of the toughest regulated medias and are rated for maturity levels. These ratings are very visible. Make sure to purchase games for your child’s maturity level. A game like Grand Theft Auto, which is full of sexual content and extreme violence, should not be bought for a child under 16 or 17.

Trend Micro has created the infographic which accompanies this article. It includes more information on online console gamers and how to help protect yourself and your accounts.

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