Over the past 20 years or so, online gaming has enjoyed a huge boost in popularity. This is thanks to improvements in technology as well as increased safety measures that have made it easier than ever for adults and children alike to enjoy their favorite games without worry. The advancements in internet safety that have appeared over the years make it possible even for beginners in the world of online gaming to select from millions of sites to find games that are reputable and safe for players.
You can think of an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate as a key that locks down the sensitive information you might enter into a website. Any site that takes credit card transactions should have a valid SSL certificate to protect the user’s data and private information.
When an SSL certificate is installed, it allows secure connections from a web server to a browser through the use of randomly generated access keys. It is easy to determine if a site has an SSL. Just look in the address bar for an icon that depicts a closed padlock. This ensures that even if your data is intercepted by thieves, it cannot be read. Furthermore, if an SSL certificate for a particular game or website is invalid, your internet browser will notify you immediately.
If you are a parent deciding which games to let your children play, then safety is a top priority. Some games contain content that may not be suitable for younger players, while other games allow online chat — a feature that you may not want your child to have access to.
Thankfully, many producers of games have begun offering age ratings for their games. In fact, all of the games on the Apple App Store and Google Play have age ratings to help parents make informed decisions for their children.
But, while age ratings can be a helpful guide, it is important to remember that each child is different. Only you know what is right for your child. It may also be useful to think about your child’s maturity level when determining the kinds of content you would be confident with them accessing.
Accreditation and Licensing
One popular type of online gaming is casinos, which have been rife with fraud over the years. Because of this, it is important to make sure that games are fair.
Unfortunately, online casinos are operated out of a number of jurisdictions, which means that licensing and accreditation are not uniform for all of them. However, there are a number of reputable third-party companies that monitor casino payouts and make sure that games are fair.
Before choosing an online gaming site, do some research on the site to determine its jurisdiction and verify that it is properly licensed. This could save you a lot of headaches (and money) in the long run. In general, those licensed by eCOGRA, TST, and PWC are reputable and fair.
Suspicious Player Reporting
If you know that you are playing on a safe, reputable site, one of the biggest threats to the fairness or integrity of an online game may be other players. In recent years, the growth in the popularity of Massively Multiplayer Games like Minecraft and World of Warcraft have been accompanied by the increase in the practice of “griefing” or “trolling” — essentially, players harm others just for the sake of it.
Because of this, many games have added ways of reporting negative player behavior to an admin team that will warn the offending players. In some cases, the team will even suspend them from the game.
In online casinos, this problem can be far more serious. Online poker players have experienced situations in which two or more of the other players at the table were conspiring to cheat so that they could split the winnings. Because of this, reputable online poker rooms have now integrated software that makes it easy to report players for cheating and other suspicious or fraudulent activity. No online casino should let other players get in your way of playing a fair and honest game.
Diverse Payment Methods
While some online games can be played for free, others require regular payments or deposits to advance in the game. But, paying online comes with big risks for gamers, including fraud and identity theft. Luckily, the proliferation of online payment processing companies like PayPal and ShopKeep have made it easier and safer to spend money online. These payment processing sites add an extra layer of protection between the site and your funds, making it more difficult than ever for anyone to steal your information or scam you out of your money.
Be wary of a website that asks you to deposit or send cash or a check to a physical address. This is likely a scam. Any reputable gaming site will offer a diverse array of methods for payments and deposits, including credit cards, PayPal, or other third-party payment options.
One of the best things about living in this tech-obsessed world is that as soon as someone has a complaint about a business, they take to the web. Business owners may argue that this has made it more difficult to run a business in our modern society, but for consumers, there is never a better or safer time like the present.
By running a quick Google search of any online gaming site you might be considering, you can find a wealth of information that will help you make an informed decision. You might also look at the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and Yelp-style reviews for a site.
Be wary of any site that multiple users have complained about, even if you find others that say positive things. It is very easy to hire people to write fake positive reviews for a website. It is much harder to have bad reviews removed.
The fact is, with so many online gaming options to choose from, you have many safe options. You don’t need to play (or allow your child to play) any game that seems sketchy. Many gaming sites take your online safety very seriously, so don’t waste your time with those who don’t.