computer games go online
Watch out: computer games go online. You can buy a computer game in a store and meet locally to play. But today you can also access games via the internet and play online. The thing about online games is that you can play with people all over the world and any time of the day...
a true story
A 13-year old boy in the USA made online friends with an older man via an online gaming website.
In July 2004 after playing and chatting for several months, the boy and his new friend arranged to meet...

safety tips for online gamers

Children in UK and Denmark say that this is good advice if you’re gaming online

  • There is no difference between chatting on a gaming site and on a chat site - so check the info about safe chat!
  • Be careful who you trust online and remember that online friends are really strangers. People you are playing with online, no matter how long you have been chatting to them or how friendly they are, may not be who they say they are.
  • Meeting someone you have only been in touch with online can be dangerous. If you feel that you ‘have to’ meet, then for your own safety you must tell your parent or carer and take them with you – at least on the first visit – and meet in a public place in daytime.
  • Stay in charge in chat. Keep your personal information secret in the online game, in the profile and in chat (name, address, telephone number, mobile number, private email address, picture), even if people ask for this. Although it can be tempting to reveal more than you normally would in online friendships, giving out personal information can make you vulnerable.
  • Look after each other. Don’t give out your friend’s personal information online as it could put them at risk. Look after and respect your friends while you are online.
  • Think about your username or ‘handle’. Use a nickname, not your real name, and a nickname that is not going to attract the wrong type of attention.
  • Learn how to block another player. If another player is behaving badly and annoying you then you should block them so you don’t hear from them again.
  • You can always kick someone out of the game if they are making you feel uncomfortable.
  • If there is voice chat on the game, sometimes you can disguise your voice by using a voice mask – these will make you sound different, like a robot for example. If you don’t want people to know your age or gender, this may be useful.
  • But be careful using voice chat. It may feel like you are talking over the phone, but remember that you are chatting to a stranger. It is still important to keep safe and not give people your personal information while talking to them.
  • Learn how to report another user. If another player is making you feel uncomfortable, by harassing you for personal information for example, then you should report them to the games provider.
  • Learn how to keep a record, and keep any key information. It’s easier to explain a problem if you can show it.
    >>learn how