Do you enjoy playing games online? Chances are, if you don't, you know somebody who does. People of all ages are playing games on their phones, tablets, consoles and more. The gaming industry is huge - did you know that it's worth more than video and music combined?!
If you do game, it’s likely to be with lots of people at the same time through games like Fortnite, Minecraft or gaming portals like Miniclip.
Being able to game and chat with people all over the world makes online gaming even more exciting. It is easy to make friends with the people you play with when you chat to them through:
- Instant messengers
- Video chats
- Live streams
Just like in the real world though, some people you meet online may not be very nice - read our advice below if you're worried about someone you've met in a game.
4 things to look out for
It’s easy to lie online and some of these ‘online friends’ may be adults who want to hurt you. How can you tell?
They will try to gain your trust and ‘make friends’ with you.
They build this trust by making you think they have things in common with you - like hobbies or the game that you’re playing with them.
They might try to get you to do things,
like add them on a social network, give them your phone number, send them photos or video chat. This can get very difficult if they talk about things which make you uncomfortable or ask you to do things you don’t want to do.
They might offer to tell you ‘cheats’ to help you out with a game.
If they ask for something in return, think about why they are doing this - are they a ‘real’ friend or trying to build your trust - be alert!
They may encourage you to tell them personal information,
such as where you live and what school you go to. This is part of their attempt to get your trust and will tell them how to find you in the real world.
How can I play online games safely?
Be careful when sharing information about yourself.
It's great to find people that you enjoy gaming with online, just don’t tell them everything about yourself, or chat to them anywhere else online, like on a social network or a messaging app.
Always choose a username that does not reveal any personal information,
like your full name and hometown. That way if someone is making you feel uncomfortable you can block them and not worry that they can find you again.
Read the terms and conditions of use
within games to ensure there are no hidden charges! If you’re not sure, get an adult to help you.
Don't click on a link from someone you don't know.
It could contain a computer virus or spyware which tells the person your personal information without you knowing. Find out more about staying secure online here.
Remember, this is very different to when your parents were growing up.
So if you love gaming online, it might be hard for them to understand how important it is to you. Keep them involved by letting them know what games you’re playing and what you love about them.
Are you worried about someone you’ve met in an online game?
Is someone being weird with you in a game? Talk to an adult you trust or get help from CEOP.
CEOP helps young people who are being sexually abused or are worried that someone they’ve met is trying to abuse them.
If you’ve met someone online, or face to face, and they are putting you under pressure to have sex or making you feel uncomfortable you should report to CEOP.
This might be someone:
- Making you have sex when you donʼt want to
- Chatting about sex online
- Asking you to meet up face to face if youʼve only met them online
- Asking you to do sexual things on webcam
- Asking for sexual pictures of you
- Making you feel worried, anxious or unsafe
If this is happening to you, or you’re worried that it might be, you can report this to CEOP.
Are you being bullied in an online game?
If you’re being bullied there’s lots of help and advice out there.
Talk to someone
On the Childline site you can find out more about online bullying. Being bullied can really knock your confidence so they also provide tips on ways to be assertive which can help deal with bullying and build up your self-esteem.
You can also speak to a counsellor on 0800 1111.