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The Resource Center Child Identity Theft & Protection | article

Gaming tips for parents – and kids – who want to avoid theft of identity

Online gaming is more than just a passing fad, as millions of users sign into gaming communities on a daily basis to engage in social interaction with like-minded individuals the world over. However, just because a game may look harmless, that doesn’t mean there aren’t hidden dangers within this alternative gaming world that could not only result in bad scores and hurt feelings, but potentially even theft of identity.

In most cases of online gaming, players need to make profiles or avatars to use in game play. The point of these, in most cases, is to provide a safe shield of privacy from your fellow players and opponents that separates your real-world identity from the personality you take on online.

For kids, grownups and players of all ages – or even just their parents – here are a few tips that will help your identity theft protection strategy:

  • Be aware of the game rating, especially if you are a parent buying a game for your child. If your child is too young to play the game, they simply aren’t mature enough not only for the content, but also the threats of identity theft that could exist.
  • For players, don’t be afraid to report a cyberbully or even block them. The consequences of avoiding these steps could result in prolonged harassment that could transcend the game. For parents, make sure you empower your children to take these steps and not be afraid to speak up.
  • When you are making a username, don’t create a character that is too similar to your actual identity. Your actual name is never an option, as well as other pseudonyms that could easily be attached to you, such as your street address, birthday or phone number. Make sure your graphic, if one is required, is not of yourself but of an avatar that isn’t an an actual photograph.

Many games allow you to communicate using a mic. You may not think your voice is recognizable, but take the extra step to avoid theft of identity by masking it using the common voice-over feature on most online games. If this isn’t an available option, opt out of using the mic altogether.