Gaming is a fun and engaging activity that allows us to spend some good time and take the mind off everyday worries. We quickly become rather involved in the game, even passionate about it. Unfortunately, often we become too passionate, especially when it comes to online team games.
When someone does something wrong and sabotages the victory of the team, it’s rather hard for us to stay cool and not begin throwing our anger and annoyance at this player. This is called “flaming” in the gaming community. Flaming by itself can hurt someone only psychologically. But sometimes, gamers go further and threaten the physical safety of the unfortunate player.
What can go wrong?
When we play an online game, we use our Internet connection. Consequently, we send data to the server where the game is hosted - our IP addresses are among that data. And as you might know, your IP address is basically your real home address since it’s unique and released by an ISP to a single network.
While game developers try to protect their players, it’s still possible to get an IP address of a particular person. Yes, it takes a long way, and the chances are low that someone really finds out your location as they threatened you during the game. But you should always consider all possible situations because you never know what is some teammate you don’t know well has on their mind.
When someone tracks you down, they might begin cyberstalking you which is a very unpleasant experience. Also, they might begin doxxing you - it means that they will try to find personal information about you and publish it online. Finally, they can find out your real location - then the real issues begin.
Some frustrated gamers practice swatting if they know the location of an unfortunate player. It means they call the police at the player’s address telling that something bad happened there. Swatting is illegal, and the person who made a faux call may face a prison sentence.
One of the most well-known swatting episodes happened in 2019 in the US. While playing “Call of Duty”, two players got into an argument, and one of them threatened another with the swat call. The second player made a rather foolish move - he has sent his address to the first player. This swatting incident resulted in an innocent man getting killed by police, and three gamers getting a prison sentence.
Of course, in this example, the victim basically asked for getting swatted as he revealed his home address. But we will remind you once again - it’s possible to track down your IP address and, therefore, your real location.
Why does this happen?
We shouldn’t forget that most of the online players are still very young people, if not teenagers. And they can do something reckless in a blink of an eye without thinking much about consequences. As the game gets heated, and the victory seems so unattainable yet very desirable, players become frustrated. And often this frustration turns into angry flaming.
Another reason why abuse in games happens is that players feel rather anonymous. It’s not that you’re walking in the virtual world having your IP address floating over your character’s head. Players very rarely tell their real names preferring to go under a gaming nickname. So on the surface, everything seems very anonymous and safe. Sure, until someone manages to get the IP address of the player got on their nerves.
Ironically, anonymity is one of the main reasons for game abuse because it’s exactly anonymity that can protect you from the real consequences of flaming.
How to stay safe?
As we’ve already mentioned, anonymity will keep you protected. It means that you should cover your IP address to safeguard your privacy. iNinja will help you keep your real data hidden while you play. And since our VPN doesn’t cut your bandwidth much, you won’t experience lags even with iNinja running.
Another thing you can do is to try your best to stay cool when someone is flaming you. Abuse results in abuse, and if you begin responding to the insults with more insults, you will just get that person even more frustrated and angry, Also, you will lose temper yourself. So try your best to just ignore that player that tries to get into an argument with you.
The best thing you can do is to just mute or block them. Then you simply won’t see or hear their insults. It will let you continue playing without getting distracted by the flame. Also, if there is an opportunity to report a player for verbal abuse, make sure to do that. Game developers tend to punish overly aggressive gamers with bans and other penalties.
Even though everyone - from game developers to the government - tries to protect your privacy, you still should take care of your safety by yourself. So do your best to not get into heated in-game arguments, and use iNinja to remain anonymous and enjoy the game without worrying about your security.