How do I stay safe when playing games online?Not only do they suggest not using real names, it is pretty much the only advice they give.
- Don’t use any personal information that might identify you. This could be your full name, home address, phone number or the name of your school.
- Use a nickname instead of your real name and chose one that will not attract the wrong type of attention.
- Look out for your mates. Treat your friend’s personal details like you would your own and do not share their details with others.
Next is Safe Kids, a site targeted at parents. This site has a more detailed guide on things you can do to help a child say safe. Here is their number one suggestion under "Guidelines for parents":
Never give out identifying information—home address, school name, or telephone number—in a public message such as chat or newsgroups, and be sure you’re dealing with someone both you and your children know and trust before giving out this information via E-mail. Think carefully before revealing any personal information such as age, financial information, or marital status. Do not post photographs of your children in newsgroups or on web sites that are available to the public. Consider using a pseudonym, avoid listing your child’s name and E-mail address in any public directories and profiles, and find out about your ISP’s privacy policies and exercise your options for how your personal information may be used.
- Never give out your real name
- Never tell anyone where you go to school
Real names proponents talk about making Internet users accountable. Child advocates, meanwhile, strive for safety. Safety and accountability are in considerable tension. To be safe on a forum, one thing you really want is the ability to exit. You want children to be able to leave a forum that has turned sour and not have ongoing consequences from it. To contrast, real name proponents hope that if someone misbehaves and leaves a forum, there is some outside mechanism to track the person down and retaliate. That might sound good if the person tracked down is really a troll, but it's a chilling prospect if the person being hunted is a child.