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Video games are a popular use of time among children and adults. They test skill, encourage friendly competition, can provide a workout, and they’re fun. And whereas video games of the past required all players to use a controller connected to the gaming console, part of what makes these games so popular is the ability to connect with players outside of your basement or living room, perhaps connecting with a gamer in another state or country.

One significant danger of this connectivity is the fact that if you enter into a public match or game, the pairing is random and players can speak to and share information with people they have never met.  This could leave young people particularly susceptible to scams.

Practice online safety by:

  • Making sure the game is age appropriate. The ESRB rating on the packaging of the game indicates the age level and suitability of the game content for different ages.
  • Understanding how the game console works and what information is required during set-up.
  • Ensuring privacy settings and/or parental control settings are activated.
  • Never giving out personal information!! Scammers and criminals may pose as peer gamers to obtain personal or financial information. OCABR recently received a call about a young man who surrendered his credit card information to an impersonator through a live chat.
  • Blocking & reporting fellow players. Some games let a player report another gamer if they are saying upsetting or inappropriate comments. Another solution is to mute the chat.
  • Never downloading anything shared from by another gamer. The software could be malicious and give the other gamer access to your computer or network.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s vehicular and customized wheelchair Lemon Laws and Arbitration Programs, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the MA Do Not Call Registry.

 

 

 

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