Wherever there is pleasure there is some kind of risk, even if that risk is just overindulgence. For every form of entertainment there is also some kind of counterbalance. If you love theater, you accept that you have no control over the story and you will have to endure sitting in among a crowd so your experience of the story isn’t personal. Feeling disconnected from the performance is therefore a small risk. In the modern age of video games, your physical and mental health needs to be looked after more. Since gaming is usually done in a sedentary position you’re at risk of your muscles becoming dormant and your gaining weight. Your eyesight is also something to take care as looking at a screen for too long can alter your eyesight over time. Other things like potentially having a lack socialization and overly stimulating your brain for long periods of time are also important to note. But let’s not bash games which are perhaps the most beautiful form of modern art. We must make sure we’re keeping safe so we can love gaming even more.
The age of VR chat rooms
Virtual reality is a concept that is slowly coming to life for video games. We’ve always dreamed about creating a world that we can jump in but have no real world consequences for what we do in it. VR headsets like Oculus Rift are becoming more advanced and being integrated into various games such as flight simulations. At the moment, there is no real pure gaming outlook for virtual reality in the near future. VR headsets won’t be mainstream hardware must-haves for a couple or a few years more. However what has happened in the VR world of gaming is the explosion of chat rooms. Quite literally a game called VR Chat allows users to wear ‘skins’ which can be deemed costumes or avatar characters and walk around in countless fictional worlds.
However because you can interact with complete strangers through voice chat, there is a danger of running into the wrong type of player. VR Chat has been used by scammers to target some players for valuable information like credit card details. Since there are a lot of children that play this game too, they are seen as easy targets by hackers. By manipulating them they might get personal IT information from them such as IP addresses. Simple things like sharing an email address are all it takes for scammers to start sending you spam messages that have viruses and malware inside. It’s important to never give out any personal information while playing virtual reality games and report players that are behaving suspiciously.
Wipe before you go
For adult gaming, it’s never been a more competitive environment as it is now. There are plenty of online casinos that you can become a member of and receive special playing privileges. When you sign up for an account, you’re almost always welcomed with a discount for your first game or bet. It goes without saying that you need to be responsible and remember that although you’re sat at home you’re still in a casino; or at least your bank account is. Before you ever click on any gambling website make sure to verify if it’s the real thing. There are plenty of cheap knock-off websites that mimic safe websites, that will steal your information the second you type it in.
Therefore you need to follow some codes of conduct to always protect yourself from hackers. Firstly learn How to Play Online Securely and Safely so it becomes part and parcel of your gaming behavior. Make sure you always wipe your browser of all your sensitive information. Do not click the ‘remember me’ button at the login window. Always delete your email and your password when you log out after playing. It’s a good idea to never save your credit card in your profile so there’s no record of your credit card details on the game’s servers. Always check the fairness policy in their terms and conditions so you know what your options are to recover money or inspect what kind of odds and systems of tamper-free gaming they use.
Time your timeouts
Video games are the most captivating entertainment and art form that we have ever seen. The allure of gaming is incredibly strong, especially for still-developing minds. Teenagers are more likely to become addicted to games than adults. We must understand why this is so we can combat it accurately. Very often, video games present us with a world that allows us to do things in it, that we cannot do or would not get away with doing in the real world. It’s easy to get lost in pure fantasy and become consumed with escapism. Usually the strength of pull that video games have over you correlates to your real world circumstances. Let’s say you’re a child and you don’t have any extracurricular activities to do, you’re more likely to replace the enjoyment you would have had playing sports to something fun outdoors with a FIFA football game.
When we get transfixed on video gaming we tend to sit for many hours. MMORPG games are among the highest noted in having gamers sit down for many hours and become addicted to playing. Our posture is the typical hunched and rolled shoulders, hand in front of our shoulders and curvature of the spine. What can also happen is that we get muscle dormancy syndrome whereby our buttocks fall asleep and we lose general muscle mass. It’s very important to take timeouts. Every hour you should take a 15 to 20-minute break and use it to walk around, get some fresh air and stretch.
Noticing real harassment
For the most part, people in online multiplayer games are friendly. Most of them act just the same as they would in real life. There’s a good chance you will make a genuine friend in one of your online gaming experiences sometimes. Many people that are playing the same game, have similar hobbies, interests and views. It’s easy to find someone you can hang out with online and have some great games with. On the flip side of that you have people that use the benefit of anonymity in online gaming to harass other people. The genre in which this is perhaps more prevalent is in the first-person shooter. This is simply because it’s a highly competitive environment and tempers will flare from time to time. It’s normal to hear a little trash talk on such games and in fact in all genres. But, there is a big difference between aimless trash talk and targeted harassment.
Here are some of the signs that you are being targeted in a manner that can be accurately described as harassment.
- You’re being followed in the games you go to. For example, if one or more particular players always follow you to different lobbies, servers and matches and only target you in the game.
- If one or more player is continuously insulting you on voice chat by using their mic. Insults that are beyond the gameplay itself such as your race, age, country or gender.
- Most modern games have online forums that are hosted by the game developer. If someone is repeatedly sending you messages that are talking about something you did in a previous game with them that they didn’t like etc.
Age appropriate content
For parents, having their children not be exposed to adult content in their video games is an important issue. Some games might be released as PG13 but they could also have future content released in the form of DLC which does feature content above that rating. It’s also important for parents to know exactly what kind of games their children are playing. Games with excessive nudity and sexual themes are perhaps things you will want your child to stay clear of.
Don’t just trust the ratings companies to get it right, it’s up to you as a parent to make sure the content they are experiencing is not of a vulgar nature. Therefore learn more about the games they play by going onto various video gaming reviews websites such as IGN, Gamespot, Kotaku and PC Gamer. They regularly publish content which examines the themes and nature of the hottest video games and they have helpful advice for parents too.
In this day and age, even Hollywood has to bow down to the video gaming industry. What a time to be alive and in the median of video games, an interactive art form unlike any other. It’s important to keep safe while playing online and not reveal personal details. Make sure that if you’re playing games that require credit card details that you wipe the account login windows clean before closing the browser window. VR games are very new to the market and are being used by scammers to manipulate players into giving away sensitive information that will lead to scams and malware arriving through your email account.