A Guide to Protecting Youth Online Gamers

This blog was written by Aric Bird, one of CSN’s past marketing interns, and an Eastern Michigan University student pursuing a master’s in Communications.

Online gaming has never been more popular among your kid’s generation than it is right now in 2020. In the midst of a global pandemic, online gaming is a great way for your kids to keep in touch with friends, engage in friendly competition, and it gives them something to do while being stuck at home! 

From strategy games to choose your own adventure and Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMOs), the options for fun and friendly competition are endless for youth online gamers, but with online gaming engagement increasing the risk for cybercrime does as well. 

Verizon reported that since April 2, 2020, the time people spent playing video games increased by 102 percent when compared to a typical day. Here are two gamer scams to be aware of:

Gamertag Identity Theft

Part of the fun when gaming online is creating your online gamertag! FinestBirdman45, cupcakefun121, and SoarSparkles are some of my personal favorites. However, your kids may be displaying private information within their gamertag which can be dangerous and allows hackers to breach private information. Check out the FTC’s IdentityTheft.gov website to create an identity theft recovery plan. Then, visit Fightcybercrime.org for more recovery tips.

Malicious gaming applications

If your children are playing online video games, they may be vulnerable targets for cybercriminals. For example, scammers create fake mobile versions of popular online games and, once downloaded, install viruses on your phone or tablet. If this occurs, disconnect your device from the internet immediately. Next, visit Fightcybercrime.org for more recovery resources. 

If you’ve experienced any of these gaming scams, please visit Fightcybercrime.org. To learn more about Cybercrime Support Network (CSN), follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Youtube.