In recent weeks there has been an astounding level of hype building up around two of the newest game releases – Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3. These games have raised a great deal of concern for parents who are worried about online gaming.

Just a few months ago Sony were dominating the headlines for all the wrong reasons when they were hit with two major data breaches.

The first was a hack on the Playstation Network which left consumers vulnerable when their personal information was exposed.

This is estimated to have affected around 70 million people all over the world. The other security breach affected 25 million individuals who held accounts at Sony Online Entertainment. The two attacks in such a short space of time really hit home the security risks that come hand and hand with online gaming.

It acted as a wake up call for the parents of many teens who play games such as Call of Duty online. The majority of those affected were teens. It is apparent that there is a very real need for consumers to make smarter choices when it comes to gaming,

The National Cyber Security Alliance has issued a number of tips to help consumers to safely navigate the online gaming world.

  • 1. Ensure that your computer is up to date with a security suite of software including anti-spyware, a firewall and anti-virus tools.
  • 2. Make sure all passwords are very strong. A good password is at least eight characters long and should contain alpha numeric characters and at least one symbol.
  • 3. Teach children how to block and report attempts of cyberbullying.
  • 4. The user name should never reveal anything about your name, age or location.
  • 5. Children should never use a real image, opting for an avatar instead. Play with your child to be sure that you understand the game and be educated in age ratings.
  • 6. Monitor your child when they are online and make sure that they are fully aware that they must never send nor accept anything containing private data.
  • 7. Children should not download anything without permission and where possible you should make use of parental controls.

These tips will go some way towards avoiding identity theft and credit card fraud while involved in online gaming. However, the are not exclusive to gaming and can be put into practice for all cases of internet use.