An online game console is a computer-based video game, which is either completely or partially played over the Internet, either on dedicated servers connected to the Internet by a computer or browser or some other network connected computer. Online games are usually played in the “virtual world” (as opposed to the traditional “real world”), and one’s character in such an online game does not exist in reality but only appears as an avatar or video figure that interacts with the other players. The interaction can be done through a keyboard and mouse or a hand-held device such as a PlayStation 2 or Xbox, or even a handheld device such as a Nintendo DS.
Since there is no actual face-to-face interaction in an online gaming environment, there are also many concerns about online predators who use video images, voice chat, and other means of camouflaging their identity to invite people to join them in a virtual playground. For example, an adult malevolent cyber predator might use a picture of a scantily clad young woman to lure potential victims into his website, then he would encourage the woman to “like” the image on Facebook in order to increase the exposure of his site. The cyber predator then encourages the potential victim to provide personal information, such as home and work addresses, phone numbers, and other contact information so that he can send emails or instant messages to the person. If the victim agrees to this request, he can be easily groomed by the cyber predator until he gain access to valuable information which the cyber Predator will use to break into his victim’s computer and steal his identity. Fortunately, there is a great deal of Internet security software available that can be downloaded from the Internet to protect your privacy and keep cyber criminals from invading your life and using your identity.
With the growth of the online gaming industry and the increasing popularity of video games, it has become much easier for bullies to use video images and voice chat to make threats and gain access to potential victims. Children who are being bullied in school or other situations may find themselves unable to escape the virtual world from bullies because they have lost all sense of reality. However, with proper protection from online gaming, you can combat cyber bullying by removing video games from your children’s homes and limiting the amount of time that they spend playing these games. In addition to protecting your child from Internet predators, you can also make sure that they get enough socialization and play time outside of the home.