Online video gaming is at an all-time high, and that trend isn’t likely to change. More time spent online equals more exposure to scams and security threats.
The sad truth is that kids are increasingly targeted by hackers. Hackers have figured out how to find them in seemingly safe places, like online video games. A recent study shows that 70% of families have at least one kid who plays video games, so this really matters.
Here’s how it happens: In online games, most players can choose an identity. This makes them anonymous to other players. A hacker develops a friendship with a child to obtain personal information such as the child’s age, address, password, birthday or other information. That little bit of info can be all that’s required to commit identity theft. With your kid’s personal info, a hacker can create accounts in their name, rack up credit card debt, and more.
The good news is, you can protect your family. We’ve pulled together some tips on how to protect your kids from identity theft while they’re gaming:
- Many online games have a chat feature. While it can be fun to connect with new people, this can pose a danger for children since adults occasionally pose as children and try to obtain personal information. Depending on your child’s age, you may want to suggest they tell you if anyone they don’t know attempts to chat with them, or explain that identity thieves could use personal information to steal their identification or even meet in real life.
- If you’re comfortable with children chatting with people through online games, or you suspect it may happen, make sure they know to never give out personal information.
- Tell them to alert you if a stranger sends a link or file, and to never download items sent from strangers.
- Create strong passwords and use two-factor identification when signing up for a new gaming service.
- Tell your kids to watch out for any email that looks like it is sent from the gaming service that asks for a password, a credit card number, or any other personally identifying information.
You can also check out these helpful resources to brush up on online safety as a family:
- Google’s “Be Internet Awesome” is a great resource for internet safety– it offers downloadable guides, coloring books, and a “Family Pledge” sheet that your kids can sign.
- Another resource, InternetSafety101.org, offers a handy list of gaming safety tips.
- Learn how to deliver internet safety advice by age group using the not-for-profit website Internet Manners, where you can also find a list of proper “netiquette” to make the internet a kind place.
Did you know Life360 can help?
We’re always looking for new ways to help you and your family stay safe and connected, even in the online world. Learn more about our ID Theft Protection, which includes Data Breach Alerts.
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